- Says ready to have PC polls by Oct 15
- Guarantees that Presidential election will not be postponed
- Nov. 16, 23 or 30 are likely dates for presidential polls
Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said if the President obtains an opinion of the Supreme Court to hold the long overdue Provincial Council elections under the previous electoral system, the Commission was ready to hold the polls by October 15.
Speaking to members of the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka yesterday Deshapriya urged the President to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on the matter and if the necessary conditions are created for an election thereafter, the Commission was ready to hold the PC polls by mid-October.
When asked whether it would clash with the Presidential election that is to be held by the end of the year, Commission Chairman Deshapriya said that they had the capacity and the ability to hold subsequent elections in quick succession and there were many occasions in the past when several large scale elections were held in the same year and only a few months apart. “After New Year in April we celebrate Vesak in May. Then we celebrate Poson also in an equal manner. In the meantime the May Day also takes place. Likewise we can have elections in quick succession. We will have to do it,” he said.
He said that according to the Constitutional Provisions the Presidential Elections will anyway take place between November 16 and December 7 this year. “I can give you a guarantee that the Presidential election will not be postponed or delayed. That is why the President said in New Delhi that the Presidential election will be held by December 7 since that is the latest by which the poll should be held,” he said.
Commission Chairman Deshapriya said that considering minimum inconvenience to the public, the election could be held on a Saturday and it could be either November 16, 23 or 30 as the GCE Ordinary Level examinations also start after that.
He urged all including the President, the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to create the conditions to hold the Provincial Council elections before that in no way to delay the Presidential Election. “This is a democratic right of the people and we have been writing to all concerned and doing whatever possible to have the election from 2017 onwards. This is not a sudden decision or action,” he said.
Mr. Deshapriya added that the postponement of the provincial Council election began with proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution to change the electoral system. He said that when it was challenged in the Supreme Court, provisions of the Bill were added to a different Bill that sought to increase female representation. He said this was done at the committee stage of the debate and once it was passed in Parliament nothing could be done. He noted that this was the cause for the postponement of the Provincial Council elections as a separate Delimitation Committee had to be appointed and thereafter the Parliament rejected their proposals. “In Lebanon due to a delimitation report an election was postponed for 23 years. I don’t want that to happen here,” he said.
Presidential Elections will anyway take place between November 16 and December 7 this year. I can give you a guarantee that the Presidential election will not be postponed or delayed