’’Height of absurdity’’ to claim no election declared: Sumanthiran
It is the height of absurdity of the President to claim that the Local Government election has not been officially declared after all legal steps have been taken and nominations filed for the March 9 elections, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran PC said today.
He told a news conference in Jaffna that the Treasury has released upto Rs. 100 million for the initial expenses with the view to conduct the election.
He also said that the UNP has filed nominations for various Local authorities and engaged in widespread campaign.
“The Finance Minister and the UNP leader, in his capacity as the President stated in Parliament that no election was officially declared in the country.
“This is the height of absurdity,” he said.
The President’s counsel and Jaffna district TNA parliamentarian said that the periodic elections are important elements for establishing democratic governance and added that the Local Government election which was earlier postponed by the government by an year, is now due before March 19 this year.(Ajith Siriwardana) DM
President has no right to express opinion on legality of LG polls: AKD
Claiming that the President had no right to express his opinion on the legality of declaring the Local Government election JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said yesterday if there was any issue with regard to the declaration of the election, it should be resolved in the Courts.
He told a news conference that if the elections commission had not acted lawfully, the President could go to court and said the opinion of the President was not the law of the country.
“The elections commission declared the election on January 5. The commission accepted deposits and nominations. The election date was announced on January 21 and dates for postal voting were announced. The election commission says all these measures are constitutional and legal. The election has been gazetted by the respective District Secretaries. The President lied in Parliament just to fulfil his ulterior motives,” he said.
The MP said the President claimed that some opposition MPs requested him to postpone the election and pointed out that even if such a request was made, the President had no powers to postpone the election.
“The President has no powers to postpone the election even if all the 225 MPs submitted a letter to postpone the election. Only the election commission can decide on an election,” he said.
He said the court decision on the election has no barrier to hold the LG polls and added that the elections commission could hold the election as per its undertaking to the Courts.
Dissanayake said he requested all the political parties, organisations and people to come foward to defeat the moves of the President against democracy and franchise of the people. (Ajith Siriwardana) DM
EC legal representation: Saliya rubbishes RW’s allegations
Outgoing President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Saliya Pieris, PC yesterday (25) rubbished an allegation directed at him by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament earlier in the week.
Addressing Parliament on Thursday (23), President Wickremesinghe had questioned why the Election Commission (EC) had picked Pieris to represent it for a case filed against a number of persons in relation to the postponed Local Government Elections.
Wickremesinghe had opined that the EC should have picked a lawyer who was not attracted to politics or a member of the Attorney General’s Department.
Responding to the allegations levelled against him, the BASL President told The Sunday Morning that it was up to the Election Commission to decide who represented it, stressing that he had never been involved in party politics.
“I am not and have never been involved in party politics. I am not a member of any political party and have never been. People who have immunity from being sued should act with a sense of responsibility when they speak. I have been retained by the Election Commission previously too in 2020 and it is entirely up to the client to retain counsel of their choice,” Pieris said.
Local council polls: New date to be announced on Friday
The Election Commission will postpone the local government elections by three weeks, to sometime possibly even beyond April while commencing fresh negotiations with the Treasury on securing funds, Chairman of the Commission Nimal Punchihewa told the Sunday Times.
The Commission will meet on next Friday to announce the new date for the election , he said.
Mr Punchihewa said that keeping with legal requirements though it would be a postponement of at least three weeks, but the date may be even beyond April.
He said that the Treasury would need to give an assurance about the funding to decide on the date for the election.
“Even if we give an date, we would have to decide if we could hold elections on the given date depending on the issue of providing funds”, he said. He said even during the COVID19 situation the elections was postponed on two occasions following consultations with Health authorities. “We may have to resort to a similar situation until we get an assurance about the funding”, he added.
Meanwhile, a senior officer of the Election Commission said that so far more than Rs 500 million has been spent for election purposes.