Presidential, general elections to precede PC polls | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Presidential, general elections to precede PC polls

The presidential and general elections are likely to precede the Provincial Council election despite the latter being next in line according to the current polls calendar, authoritative sources told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

The sources said there were ongoing internal discussions on the possibility of holding the two national elections together, which will be a first in Sri Lanka’s election history.

Six Provincial Councils of the nine have been vacant for months now and the functions of these Councils are being looked after by the Governors and Provincial Secretaries.

The term of the Uva PC is due to end on September 21 while the Southern and Western PCs expire on March 20, 2019. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) National Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said scheduling two elections on the same day would reduce costs sharply. However, the Election Commission is yet to say if this is a possibility in a logistical sense. He said it may also give an added advantage to the ruling UNP as people will vote with a nationalistic view at these elections than at a provincial election.

The Election Commission is awaiting legal advice on how best to resolve the current situation and hold the PC election without further delay. A spokesperson for the Election Commission said the only way out of the current impasse is to bring in provisions to the Act by the Provincial Council Ministry, under Minister Vajira Abeywardena, and facilitate holding the election under the old system. The proposed new system cannot be implemented since the Government failed to pass the delimitation report in Parliament with a two-thirds majority.

The previous Cabinet of Ministers approved a paper to hold the PC election under the old system until a new delimitation report is tabled in Parliament. “That Cabinet paper will not be valid now,” Gajanayake said adding that it will take at least two months to bring in an amendment to change the current law to hold the election under the old system. The Election Commission has said they need almost three months to prepare for the PC election.

Gajanayake said the President’s term of office ends on November 19, 2019 and the Presidential election would have to be scheduled by that time.