Govt.’s responsibility to hold LG polls as scheduled: Prelates
Claiming that the postponement of Local Government elections had created unrest among the people, the Mahanayake Thera of the Malwattu and Asgiri Chapters said that it was the responsibility of the Government to conduct the LG polls as scheduled.
The prelates said in a letter to the President that ensuring democracy is the practice of ensuring people’s sovereignty through a free and fair election.
They said in the letter that public protests on the current issues should not be held with a motive to create political, economic, and social instability.
The letter further said that people should have the right to Freedom of Speech within the legal restriction of the country.
The Prelates expressed hope that the Government would take steps to restore normalcy and calm among people by ensuring rule of law and taking steps to control the cost of living.
The Prelates praised the President for taking actions to stabilize the country by alleviating economic, political and social instability in the country.
They urged the Government to take immediate action to implement people-friendly policies and protect people’s lives by controlling the rising cost of living.
“We strongly believe that all factions must carry out their duties and responsibilities to stabilize the country’s economy at this critical juncture. We reiterate the need for long-term plans based on national policies for the well-being of the people, irrespective of political differences.
“We stress that the government must take steps to alleviate the burden on people through practical solutions such as efficient management of State funds, eradicating corruption, putting a stop to misuse of state resources and removing excessive privileges entertained by people’s representatives instead of putting the entire economic burden on the people,” the letter further said.
Govt. Printer sounds the alarm on Treasury delays
Even if the general Treasury releases the necessary funds to the Government Printing Department for the printing of ballot papers for the Local Government (LG) elections, there is a risk that the printing of ballot papers will be delayed if the necessary funds are not released by the Treasury to the Police, The Daily Morning learned.
Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (14), Government Printer Gangani Liyanage said that following the recent discussion with the Election Commission (EC), she had written two letters to Secretary to the Finance, Economic Stabilisation, and National Policies Ministry and the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana, requesting for the release of the necessary funds, and to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne requesting to take steps to provide the necessary security for the printing of the ballot papers.
In response to the letter sent to the IGP, she said that the Police had informed her to advise on the number of police officers needed for the relevant security arrangements to be made, three or four days prior to the commencement of the printing of the ballot papers. However, she said that delays in the release of the funds required by the Police would cause a problematic situation regarding the provision of security. “The Treasury is required to release funds to the Police for election-related duties. If there is a delay in the release of the relevant funds, the Police may say that they are not able to provide security until the relevant payments are received. If such a situation arises, the printing work will be delayed even if the Government Printing Department receives the necessary funds,” she explained.
Meanwhile, when queried by The Daily Morning regarding the Treasury’s failure to release the relevant funds to the Government Printing Department and the Police, EC Chairman Attorney Nimal G. Punchihewa said on Monday (13) that the EC had requested the Treasury that the relevant funds be released for purposes related to the elections. The Treasury’s failure to release the funds by the end of this week would result in the EC discussing and taking a decision regarding the matter, he further said.
March 09 election – a Fundamental Rights Petition by NPP
The National People’s Power (NPP) states it will submit a fundamental rights petition to the Supreme Court seeking an order stating that the non-holding of the local government elections that were scheduled to be held on March 09 is illegal.
Accordingly, the petition will be submitted tomorrow (14th) at 11.00 am by the Secretary of NPP, Specialist Dr Nihal Abeysinghe, Dr Harini Amarasooriya MP and Sunil Handunnetty.
Election can be held in 17 districts if printed papers are given – EC Chairman
If the Election Commission had received the amount of postal ballots printed in 17 districts as stated by the Government Press, they could have held the election in those 17 districts says the Chairman of the Election Commission, Lawyer Nimal G. Punchihewa.
He emphasised that if that were the case, there would have been a change in the existing situation.
Due to the non-release of the money allocated in the budget for the election by the Treasury Secretary, the voting on the previously decided days was cancelled. Then the Election Commission announced that the days from March 28 to 31 would be marked as postal voting days and April 25 as Election Day.
Lawyer Nimal G., Chairman of the Election Commission, further said the problem has arisen due to the non-disbursement of money by the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and the circular for controlling services and purchases.