No provision to delay Presidential polls – PAFFREL | Sunday Observer

No provision to delay Presidential polls – PAFFREL

The independent polls monitors said there were no legal provisions to delay the Presidential election beyond five years, thus the National Election Commission should take the lead to call for elections before the end of this year.

PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said the law is clear and there were no legal constraints which contribute to postpone the Presidential election. The Local Government (LG) and Provincial Council (PC) elections were delayed due to legal impediments connected to the demarcation of new wards. “In this case the Delimitation report has no bearing on the Presidential election,” Hettiarachchi said.

It has been rumoured that the SLFP is discussing means to stay the election by at least six months. SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera went on record saying that there was ambiguity as to when the current Presidential term ends.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), with whom the SLFP is currently having discussions for a possible tie up before the polls, has vehemently protested any moves to postpone the Presidential election due this year.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution gazetted in Parliament in May 2015, reduced the term of office of the Executive President from six to five years. At the time the Amendment was bought in, President Sirisena had been in office for five months and he was praised across political and social divides for this selfless gesture.

PAFFREL Executive Director said according to the Presidential Elections Act, the election notice should be issued by October and election held before December 9, 2019.

Meanwhile National Election Commission Chairman, Mahinda Deshapriya has reportedly written to the President and Prime Minister that the gazette notice calling for elections and announcing the nominations period should be issued by October this year. The LG election was held in February 2018, after months of delay due to issues over the demarcation of new wards. The PC election has been delayed for over two years now, since Parliament failed to adopt the new delimitation committee report. However, none of the main parties have so far announced their Presidential candidates. 

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