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EC urges Govt Hold PC Polls before year end

The Election Commission has called upon the Government to ensure that polls to the six Provincial Councils are held before the end of this year.

Chairman of the Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, addressing a media briefing yesterday (24), pointed out that the timing of the elections rested solely with the Parliament and not with the Commission.

He explained that delaying the elections was a violation of the sovereignty of the people. He added, the terms of three Councils, namely, Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central...... Provincial Councils had ended last year while the terms of the Wayamba (the North Western), the Northern and the Central Provincial Councils would end this year, adding that therefore, it was necessary for the Government to ensure that the polls are held before the year ends.

The Commission is also in the process of writing to political parties and their secretaries, urging them to ensure that the polls are conducted.

Speaking further, he said that the Parliament had four alternatives in order to conduct the elections.

“The first option is that the delimitation report should be passed in the Parliament with a two-thirds majority. The second is to review the report by a committee appointed by the Prime Minister,” he said.

He said that the Parliament could also decide to change the system where 50 per cent is elected through the First-Past-The-Post system and 50 per cent is elected through the Proportional Representation (PR) system.

“However, if that is opted for, then we will have to go for an urgent delimitation process,” Deshapriya said. “The last option is to go back to the old system. It is up to the Parliament to decide,” he added.

Explaining the sequence of events up to the February local government polls, Deshapriya pointed out that the change in the electoral system was announced in October last year just before the Commission called for the nominations, following which a delimitation committee was also appointed.

He said that even though the committee had completed their work by
2 February, the report was handed over to the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Faiszer Musthapha on 19 February.

“We are now in the month of April and Parliament sessions will only commence on 8 May,” he said.

“We believe that the Parliament could complete the process before June. The Commission will then need a timeframe of two and a half months to three months to prepare for the polls,” Deshapriya added.

(Ceylon Today)

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