No legal barrier to hold polls: PAFFREL, Rs. 500 million already spent on elections
24 February 2023
Despite statements made by the government, there is no legal barrier to holding elections, Executive Director of People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Rohana Hettiarachchi said.
“The Supreme Court only postponed the hearing of the petition filed seeking the postponement of the local government elections, until May 11, 2023. Therefore there is no legal barrier for the Election Commission to hold polls,” he said.
actical terms the government is blocking funds through circulars, causing a delay in polls, he said. “As citizens, it is regrettable that the people’s franchise was being ridiculed in Parliament by our leaders.
Meanwhile, some Rs. 500 million worth of public funds have already been spent for various election-related costs, Hettiarachchi charged. “If there is no election held, will the political leadership or the government officials take responsibility for wasting public funds in this manner?” he questioned.
Hettiarachchi also warned that if the polls are not held on March 9, the lower levels of government will be defunct, as the term of office of local government comes to an end on March 20. (Kalani Kumarasinghe)
Prez calls BASL Prez a ‘political’ lawyer who appeared for EC
President and Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed that Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President, President’s Counsel (PC) Saliya Pieris should not be representing the Election Commission (EC) in the cases related to the Local Government (LG) poll as Pieris is a “political” lawyer.
The President made these comments during a debate in Parliament yesterday (23). Whilst speaking of the cases filed against the EC recently by various individuals pertaining to the LG election, he said: “When they opted for Pieris, some Government Parliamentarians approached me and asked ‘How can they (the EC) have Pieris representing them? He’s a political lawyer. They should have a lawyer who is not attached to politics or, give them the Attorney General (AG), Sanjay Rajaratnam PC. I said that it’s difficult to give them the AG and I said that I won’t intervene in this matter. I accept that if they are selecting a lawyer, then that lawyer should be one who is not attached to any political party. The one they selected is a lawyer who is of the view that this Government has no power and that this Government cannot function. Then, it is better to take a lawyer from the Opposition’s Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) or the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). That’s all I have to say.”
Attempts to contact Pieris in this regard proved futile.
Pieris, in his capacity as the President of the BASL, during the period of the “aragalaya” (people’s struggle to oust former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the then Government) has voiced his criticisms against several of the
Church Of Ceylon expresses its concern