President asked to seek SC opinion on holding PC polls | Daily News


President asked to seek SC opinion on holding PC polls

The Elections Commission asked President Maithripala Sirisena to seek Supreme Court’s opinion with regard the holding of the Provincial Council Election, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the Daily News yesterday.

The Chairman said, “All three members of the Elections Commission who met with President Maithripala Sirisena recently asked to seek the Supreme Court’s opinion with regard to holding of the Provincial Council Election and he informed the Commission that he wants to seek the Attorney General’s opinion prior to that.”

He further said that the Elections Commission has no mandate to seek the Supreme Court’s legal opinion on that and only the President can do that. So he (President) would do that.

“The Commission also met the Prime Minister and discussed the same matter with him. This is the first time we met both the President and Prime Minister alone separately,” he added.

The Chairman said that a Writ Petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking an order to be issued to the Elections Commission to conduct the elections for the Southern Provincial Council.

He said that the petitioners are also seeking a Writ of Mandamus directing the members of Elections Commission as respondents to take action required by Article 104 B of the Constitution read with Provincial Council Act No.2 of 1988 as it stood prior to the enactment of the Act No.17 of 2017 for the election of Southern Provincial Council members.

He stressed that the Commission wants to hold elections not to postpone elections.

Commenting on the next Presidential Election, Deshapriya said that the Presidential election would be held between November 15 and 7 December 2019.

He added that according to the Article 31(3) of the Constitution, the poll for the election of the President has to be held not less than one month, and not more than two months before the expiration of the term of office of the President in office.

According to that the last day by which the Presidential poll will have to be held, is December 9, 2019 because President Maithripala Sirisena’s term in office ends on January 9, 2020.

According to Section 2(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981, when the Commissioner of Elections is required by the Constitution to conduct a Presidential election, he has to fix a date for the nomination of candidates which is not less than 16 days and not more than one month from the date of publication of such Order.

“The date on which the poll is taken has to be a date not less than one month and not more than two months from the date of nomination. Since there has to be a period of at least 16 days for nominations to close after the election is declared, we see that the Presidential election will have to be declared at least by October 20,” he added.

The Chairman of the Elections Commission also assured that the Presidential Election would definitely come first and not the Parliamentary Election. 

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