The Elections Commission (EC) today postponed the Parliamentary polls scheduled to be held on April 25th indefinitely considering the uncertain situation prevalent in the country with the spread of COVID 19, viral infection.
Chairman of the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya told reporters at a hurriedly convened news briefing last afternoon that under clause 24 – 3 of the Parliament Elections Act no. 1 0f 1981, if and when the elections are held after the postponement, it has to be held after 14 days from the day of postponement.
Mr. Deshapriya said however, the nominations accepted by the closing time of yesterday stand legally eligible for the general election to be held in a future date.
“The day to hold the election will be decided by COVID 19 itself and the “National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19,” Mr. Deshapriya said.
He said the EC interacted with the Health authorities, the WHO, National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 and all other relevant agencies and officials before taking the decision to postpone the election but added the decision was taken by three members of the EC independently.
“We made all arrangements for the conduct of elections, since the day the Parliament was dissolved, and called for nominations, recruited the staff and issued instructions to voters, officials, the media and our district offices. We were monitoring the spread of COVID 19 closely and the three of us decided that it is impossible to hold the election on April 25th under the prevailing situation. However, I am confident that the COVID 19 task force will bring the spread of the viral infection under control before long,” Mr. Deshapriya stressed.
Responding to Daily Mirror, Mr. Deshapriya said political parties must decide discreetly and prudently whether to continue election propaganda campaigns during the suspension period of the polls.