Delay in provincial polls irks election watchdogs | Daily News

Delay in provincial polls irks election watchdogs

Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya who is in receipt of a draft gazette notification on the much anticipated Provincial Council polls, said the Commission cannot act on its own to declare the elections until the Provincial Council and Local Government Ministry decides to do it first.

Speaking to the Daily News, the Commissioner who had met with election watchdogs said they were irked at the delay and repeatedly questioned the reason as to why the Election Commission was not proactive on the matter.

“Although I have a draft, it is the responsibility of the Minister to publicize the gazette notification, after which we will issue one declaring the number of days that would be needed before the elections are held. “This,” he said, “can be between 50-75 days at most.”

He added that there were no hindrances to holding the election before Thai Pongal which falls on January 14 next year. “My only concern is that we cannot have elections during the Ordinary Level Examinations or during the last four days of the year since we will not be able to dispatch public servants for official election duty,” he said. “After that, any day is fine with us.”

The Election Commissioner met with several election watchdogs including Transparency International, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFEE), National Polls Observation Centre (NPOC), Movement for Free and Fair Elections (MFFE) yesterday, to discuss the impending local provincial polls.

“They have questioned me repeatedly on the delay to which the only answer I have at the moment is that we too are waiting on the Minister to publicize the gazette. Nothing can be done until such time.”



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