- If and when the elections are held after the postponement, it has to be held after 14 days from the day of postponement
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The Election Commission would consult political parties, doctors, dermatologist, the armed forces and the Police and all others fighting the war against COVID-19, after April 20 in order to take a decision on conducting Parliamentary elections, member of the Elections Commission (EC) N. J. Abeysekara PC said yesterday.
However, Mr. Abeysekara reiterated that the conduct of the polls entirely depended on the situation of the viral infection in the country.
“The Elections Commission has the entire freedom and authority to decide the date of elections after it had been postponed and we couldn’t conduct elections as we planned. Under the prevailing situation, we also cannot decide an exact date. That is why we would meet the experts and consult with them,” Mr. Abeysekara told Daily Mirror.
Asked about the possibility if the EC was not able to hold the election within three months of the postponement as required by the Constitution, Mr. Abeysekara said the President has the power under the Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act of 1981, to fix a new date or make a new proclamation on the dissolution of Parliament and the election. The EC yesterday postponed the Parliamentary polls scheduled to be held on April 25 indefinitely, considering the uncertain situation prevalent in the country with the spread of COVID-19.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament three months prematurely on March 2 and the Elections Commission concluded accepting nominations on March 19 and fixed elections for April 25. But considering the rapid spreading of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the EC postponed the polls under clause 24 – 3 of the Parliament Elections Act No. 1 of 1981.
Under the same law, if and when the elections are held after the postponement, it has to be held after 14 days from the day of postponement and before the lapse of three months.
Meanwhile, the JVP leader and Colombo District leader of the Jathika Jana Balavegaya Anura Kumara Dissanayaka has written to the EC Chairman Deshapriya requesting for an opportunity to discuss the Parliamentary Elections 2020.