Polls monitors emphasized that the reason for the defeat of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution in several Provincial Councils was owing to the attempt by the Central Government to reduce the term of Provincial Councils and the Central Government attempting to takeover powers afforded to the Provincial Councils.
Elections monitoring body, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) added that in the event the Supreme Court, which is to decide on the question of whether the proposed 20th Amendment would require a referendum to be passed into law, was to decide that a referendum was not required, the elections of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, the Eastern Provincial Council and the North Central Provincial Council, the terms of which are scheduled to expire by September and October of this year, could be held.
In the event the Supreme Court decides that a referendum is required, the Government would not pursue the matter, and it would be after 2019 October that the Provincial Councils elections would be held as the term of the Uva Provincial Council is scheduled to lapse in October that year, Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi noted.
The terms of the Central Provincial Council, the North Western/Wayamba Provincial Council and the Northern Provincial Council will expire in 2018 October while the terms of the Southern Provincial Council and the Western Provincial Council will end in 2019 April.
The Cabinet has approved amending the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988 to also provide for the holding of all Provincial Councils elections on the same day.
“Regardless of the societal consensus on the matter and the fact that the proposed 20th Amendment is being rejected by Provincial Councils, it is the Parliamentary majority that will decide the issue. If the Government is genuine in the intention to hold the Provincial Councils elections instead of resorting to postponing such, the Government can withdraw the 20th Amendment and pass a separate constitutional amendment to hold the Provincial Councils elections on one day after 2020 and in the interim period hold the Provincial Councils elections as scheduled, as and when the expiry of the respective terms occur,” he explained.