Sri Lanka Brief
NewsCOVID 19: Opposition political parties including the TNA call for the postponement of the General Elections in Sri Lanka.

COVID 19: Opposition political parties including the TNA call for the postponement of the General Elections in Sri Lanka.

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 “The Tamil National Alliance is concerned about the threat posed to the people by the possible spread of the COVID19 virus in the country. The safety of the public is our paramount concern. We call on the government to take all steps to prevent the spread of this virus. We will extend our fullest cooperation in this regard. For this reason, and for the reason that all democratic aspects cannot be properly be adhered to in this abnormal situation, we request due to be held on 25th of April 2020.” the TNA said issuing a statement today.

Meanwhile, former speaker of the parliament also issued a statement yesterday saying that “in many countries, all stakeholders have come together to derive plans of action to combat COVID-19 and we are hopeful that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa too would consider such an inclusive approach,” Jayasuriya said in a press release.  Actions to control the spread of COVID-19 needs to be carefully measured to not to push the public into an undue panic situation. The breakdown of everyday life is disastrous, and the repercussions will be harshly felt. A properly calculated epidemiological approach is now necessary.”

Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested him to summon a meeting of all heads of political parties and other relevant bodies, agencies, and authorities, so as to work out a comprehensive strategy to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 that is acceptable to the public and all stakeholders.

The former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa says that conducting the election would be a futile exercise as all public gatherings have been banned to curb the spread of the novel disease. “Public meetings have been suspended for two weeks. We can neither engage in door to campaigning nor distribute leaflets. Against this backdrop, how can the election be held?,” Premadasa has pointed out.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders on 15th March that the Parliamentary election in April will go ahead as scheduled.

Chair of Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya has told media that there is a possibility of postponing the upcoming general election if the spread of COVID-19 reaches epidemic levels within the country.

According to him, since the disease is not declared as an epidemic in the country, postponement of elections is not being considered at the present.

According to the subsection 3 of section 24 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, the Election Commission has the power to postpone the election day in case of an emergency after the President has set the date for the general election.

However, the Commission only has the ability to postpone the election day and not deadline for accepting nominations.

Many observers are in the opinion that Sri Lanka government has only two weeks to decide to go ahead with the general election or not.

 

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