- Argues if EC feels allowance may be unnecessary as country is returning to normal then polls should be held without further delay
- Says allowance was provided in good faith despite significant financial problems faced by Govt.
The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) this week expressed its displeasure over the Elections Commission (EC) requesting an evaluation of the Rs. 5,000 allowance for next month, contending that if it did not need to be given as the country is returning to normal then it was possible to hold Parliamentary Elections.
EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya on 17 May directed a letter to President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera requesting the reconsideration of the Rs. 5,000 allowance payment for June, noting there was a high probability of many complaints being made regarding it from other political parties, civil society and independent candidates.
The letter also said that as the country was returning to normalcy the need for the allowance to continue should also be evaluated and officials engaged in its distribution should be withdrawn.
Speaking to media at the SLPP Head Office on Thursday, Wildlife Conservation and Environment Minister S.M. Chandrasena said the Government respected the EC’s request regarding the allowance but if the EC itself was observing the country returning to normal, then it should move ahead to hold Parliamentary Elections without further delay.
“If the EC says the Government should not provide an allowance due to the fact that the country is returning to normalcy, then it should hold the election without further delay. However, we do not want to push the EC to hold the election until health experts recommend to do so as our priority is bringing the country to complete normalcy,” he said.
He noted that the Government provided Rs. 5,000 under difficult circumstances while shouldering heavy debt repayment burdens in the coming months. Chandrasena said the decision to provide the allowance was done in good faith to support thousands of poor people hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.