Mangala warns against rushing into election before COVID-19 threat eliminated

Thursday, 16 April 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Warns of possible setback to COVID-19 countermeasures
  • Says pushing elections will undermine sacrifices made by essential workers and public
  • Backs reconvening Parliament, pledges support to allocate more funds
  • Contends Opposition only wants polls delayed 

Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday warned the Government against rushing into an election saying there would be a setback to the COVID-19 control program while the sacrifices made by the people of the country by staying in their homes for a month will be wasted if an election is held at this juncture.

“On the day the people of this country can feel 100% secure in leaving their homes and the Election Commission, health authorities, other responsible officials and the Government can give an all-clear assurance, that day we hold the election,” Samaraweera said in a statement.

He said an election does not only entail people going out and casting their votes but also means candidates having the freedom to campaign freely so that they can reach out to voters.

“Rushing into an election will be a waste of the sacrifices the people of this country have made thus far. I am not willing to contest an election over the bodies of the people. Every candidate contesting this election must work according to their conscience,” he said.

Samaraweera said the Opposition is not working to indefinitely postpone the election but wants it delayed until there is 100% assurance that the situation is favourable to holding the polls.

“The President has the power to reconvene Parliament. He can do so, and we assure him that we will support in giving the necessary approval for additional funds to deal with this situation,” he said.