By Ashwin Hemmathagama, Our Lobby Correspondent
Lawmakers, keeping aside party politics, yesterday expressed concern over the long overdue local government elections and the impact they would feel from the stay order issued by the Court of Appeal.
Expressing his concern over the postponement of the local government election till the end of next year, former President and UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said: “It is informed the local government elections due in January 2018 were postponed till 4 December as a result of an injunction our people have asked. I trust it is the responsibility of the Government to hold the election as soon as possible. The election is now postponed for three years. People are questioning why it is not possible to hold this simple election.”
Minister of Higher Education and Highways and Leader of the House of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella in response stated that the United National Party was more than willing to have an election, but matters were now in court. “We also want the elections as early as possible. We have already called applications for nominations, prepared the shortlist and selected eligible candidates. Now they have started village level canvassing,” he said.
According to Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the court case has been raised for political reasons by a set of the petitioners who are close associates of State Minister of Highways Dilan Perera, State Minister of Public Enterprise Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara.
“There is a vacancy in the Supreme Court and another vacancy will be created shortly. Those in the Appeal Court may get a chance to fill those vacancies and this case was used as a criterion for that. We are watchful of the names the President sends the Constitutional Council to fill those vacancies,” he said.