PC Election: Classic Gordian Knot, says Polls Commission | Sunday Observer

PC Election: Classic Gordian Knot, says Polls Commission

The Elections Commission is ready to hold Provincial Council elections if a court gives the green light or the Government changes its laws as the current electoral system is deadlocked, Chairman of the Commission Mahinda Deshapriya told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

The Supreme Court heard a petition filed by a group calling for an order to hold elections in six Provincial Councils whose tenure ended on Friday (29)

The group Sathya Gaveshakayo filed the petition on February 18 saying that steps should be taken to elect new members to the Sabaragamuwa, North, North Western, North Central, Central and Eastern Provincial Councils as the delay had left its day-to-day work in total disarray.

However, the Elections Commission is not in a position to hold the elections due to the delimitation of electorates. The Provincial Councils Elections Law was amended by the Government in 2017 by Act No: 17 of 2017, which made demarcation of constituencies a necessity.

This Act changed the former proportional system with preferential votes and proposed the mixed-member proportional voting system. However, its delimitation report was not approved by Parliament.

Later Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed a committee to review the report, but it was not produced.

“We are in a Gordian knot now as President Maithripala Sirisena failed to gazette it. This knot can be disentangled by Parliament by changing the law, or a court by giving an order to proceed with elections under a certain law,” Deshapriya said.

He said that the Commission is willing to hold the elections at any given time.

The Supreme Court will hear the case again on April 2.

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