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Rohana Hettiarachchi

People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) outlined that it is within the scope of the duty of the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils to ensure the manifestation of the democratic processes in the said administrative units by facilitating elections for the constituents.

Writing to Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils, President’s Counsel Faiszer Musthapha regarding the expediting of the elections in local government councils that have not been impacted by the delimitation process, Executive Director of the elections monitoring body PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi said that while acknowledging the fact that the present Minister for Local Government administration was not responsible for the issues or delays resulting in the postponement of the local government elections due to concerns regarding the delimitation process, the Minister however had to enable the constituents to elect their representatives in a free and fair manner.

While it is not healthy for a democratic system to conduct elections in a fragmented manner, it is more detrimental to postpone elections for long periods of time or indefinitely and hence, the elections in local government institutions where there are no concerns of delimitation must be conducted immediately, he added.

“The local government councils and provincial councils are the political institutions and establishments nearest and most important to the general public. As the local government elections have not been conducted regularly, for over a year, most of these councils are being currently administered by government officials and not by the people’s representatives. Elections have not been conducted for more than two years in local government councils in districts such as Jaffna, Vavuniya and Batticaloa. In most locations, in certain councils, there is a severe breakdown in administration that has caused a negative impact on the functions of the councils as well as the fulfillment of public needs and wants. Not only is this a grave burden on the public, but also it imposes an undesirable impact on the democratic process of our governing system,” he observed.