Name change for parties with religious, ethnic tags | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Name change for parties with religious, ethnic tags

28 March, 2021

The political parties which are registered under names depicting ethnic and religious biases will be required to revise their party names following a decision by the Election Commission last week.

Election Commission Spokesperson Channa de Silva said the Commission will meet party leaders to discuss this matter shortly.

A release issued by Election Commissioner General Saman Sri Ratnayake, stated that the Commission will give time for the existing political parties to change their names in line with the new rule. “It is against the Constitution of the country to have party names with references to ethnicities or religions,” the release stated adding, therefore, the Election Commission will not register new political parties in the future with names inconsistent with the Constitution.The decision to inform the political parties to adhere to this rule was taken at a meeting headed by EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa last week. Many registered political parties including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya will be required to follow suit. Among other decisions taken at the meeting were to immediately seek parliamentary approval for the amended law to include persons turning 18 years of age into the electoral register within three months.

The relevant amendments to the “Registration of Electors Act No 44 of 1980” have already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and gazetted by the President. However, the House is yet to approve the law. A re-registration drive will be conducted in Jaffna and the Wanni districts to provide franchise rights to people who were mistakenly listed as dead during the battle against terrorism since 1985.

The Election Commission will display such names in the Government Gazette, Election Commision website, District Secretriats, District Election offices, PS offices and Grama Niladhari offices till April 23 to offer a second chance to enter the names of such persons in the 2020 electoral register.