Local government polls in January as agreed – PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the government expects to hold the Local government polls in January as agreed before and after that the postponed Provincial Council elections in March next year.

The Prime Minister has made these comments when he attended the Committee meeting on Parliamentary Business (Party Leaders’ meeting) chaired by the Speaker of Parliament.

The meeting was held as a special emergency meeting to pay attention to the injunction order issued against holding the next local government elections.

The leaders of all parties, the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Election Commission were also present at the event. The Minister in charge of the subject Faizer Mustapha also participated in the occasion.

All parties participated in the meeting unanimously decided not to delay the elections for any reason.

The Gazette notification issued by the President on 21 August 2015 with the acknowledgement of the then Minister of Local Government in the 100-day government and current Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was widely scrutinized at the meeting.

At the meeting it was ordered to reject the delimitation report prepared by the previous government and ordered to correct the flaws following discussions with relevant district secretaries and reissue it.

The previous government’s delimitation report was rejected due to allegations that some sort of partiality had occurred due to the lack of proper coordination with the relevant officials in the preparation of the report.

After a lengthy discussion the participants of yesterday’s meeting agreed to several decisions regarding the local government polls.

They decided to submit a motion to the judiciary to obtain a prompt decision on the gazette notification and explore the possibility to get the petition against the gazette notification withdrawn.

If both approaches failed, the party leaders decided to look into the possibility of holding the election using the delimitations of the gazette notification 2015. (The attention of the Party Members was drawn on the view that since the issue has been raised with the 64 Multi Member Constituencies, the 2015 Gazette could be implemented on the other wards).

The Party Leaders also decided to appoint a three member committee to negotiate with six petitioners who filed petitions in Court of Appeal seeking an order to make Delimitation Gazette inoperative.

 

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