Justice, Human Rights and Legal Reforms Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva has instructed a committee of officials representing the Attorney General’s Department, Elections Commission and the Justice Ministry, to review the Provincial Councils Elections (Special) Act no 17 of 2017 and propose necessary amendments to make it enactable as soon as possible, to enable holding of the much-delayed PC polls in early 2020.
He has also inquired into the possibility of expanding the opportunities for postal voting for public servants as only a limited number of public servants qualify for postal voting under the existing regulations.
If PC polls are to be conducted under the newly enacted Provincial Councils Elections (special) Act, it is required to demarcate electoral boundaries afresh, for which the government in 2017 appointed a delimitation committee.
However, almost all political parties rejected the delimitation report, as there were so many shortcomings in it.
Former Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizer Mustapha appointed another committee chaired by senior public servant Asoka Peiris, but its report was also rejected by all political parties in toto.
President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a five-member committee in August 2018 led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to go through the Asoka Peiris committee report and propose amendments in two months, but he is still to come up with this report, thereby making it impossible to conduct PC polls.
Minister De Silva said he would obtain parliamentary approval for law reforms once the officials forwarded their amendments. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)