The Elections Department last week said that Local Government elections would only be held after the submission of the report of the delimitation commission to the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils. Deputy Elections Commissioner, M.M. Mohamed speaking to Nation said that the Elections Department could only decide on the polls once it receives the nod from the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils.
“We (Elections Department) cannot decide on anything until and unless the report is handed over to the Ministry. The Minister then has to give us the instruction to call for the elections,” he said.
The Government has been expressing conflicting views pertaining to the polls. State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena during a press briefing last week said that polls would be held next year owing to delays at the Delimitation Commission.
However, earlier Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that polls would be held in June this year under the new mixed electoral system.
Meanwhile, polls monitor, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) explained that the Government was artificially attempting to postpone the local authorities’ elections.
Executive Director of CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that there were no consultations being conducted with regards to amending the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 2012, and towards ironing out what even the Department of Elections has acknowledged as being 56 technicalities-cum-points of contention in the said piece of legislation.
The civil administration in place at present is posing a huge issue, he added.
“The United National Party has received 2,000 complaints regarding the delimitation and they are not being inquired into. Finally, we have managed to get it to a level where there are discussions held with the people at district level. This weekend we will be in Puttalam. The Government is trying to put forward the said elections and is biding and wasting time as it is favourable to them. This is not naturally occurring but artificially engineered. This is illegal and cannot be accepted,” he observed.