Lifting of Emergency regulations ?

26 July 2011 09:05 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Sandun A.Jayasekera

The cabinet may discuss easing emergency regulations or at least the removal of some clauses of the Public Security Ordinance which are not essential under the prevailing situation in the country, a senior government source said yesterday.

‘If the cabinet decides to lift emergency regulations today, the government would not seek an extension of emergency in Parliament next month. If the decision is to lift certain clauses of the emergency regulations which are not extremely necessary, then the government would present a motion in Parliament to remove them,” the source said.

One of the major problems the government will have to confront if and when the emergency regulations were to be lifted was to conduct elections to remaining local government bodies immediately. The government has postponed the elections to 23 municipal and urban councils under the emergency regulations  until December 31, he said.

The source added that the elections to the Colombo Municipal Council would also have to be held as the finalization of the legal draft of the proposed ‘Colombo Metropolitan Council Authority’ Act would take a few more months.

The source however did not elaborate when asked if the full or partial removal of the emergency had any links to local and international pressure to remove emergency regulations.

But he admitted there was pressure from the International Community in particular to lift emergency.

The European Community (EU) was not happy about the continuation of the emergency regulations during peace time and made it a condition to remove it if the GSP+ to be renewed. The EU ultimately suspended GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka effective from August 2009.

The latest protest to the continuation of the emergency regulations came from the US.

The House Foreign Relations Committee in the US last Thursday unanimously decided to ban development aid if Sri Lanka did not take measures to address accountability issue, enhance media freedom and lift emergency regulations.

The source said elections had to be held immediately to the Municipal Councils in Colombo, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Dehiwala- Mt. Lavinia, Galle, Gampaha, Kalmunai, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matale, Matara, Moratuwa, Negombo, Nuwara-Eliya, Ratnapura and Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte and to Urban Councils at Hambantota, Kolonnawa and Hambantota, and Urban Council at Kolonnawa and five Pradeshiya Sabhas.
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