- Dayasiri calls on Govt. to act on 13 Nov. Cabinet paper passed during MS-MR Govt. to hold PC polls under old system
- Pledges full support for any bill presented in Parliament based on 13 Nov. Cabinet paper
- Says Govt. engaged in delaying tactics to avoid polls
By Chathuri Dissanayake
Accusing the Government of delaying the Provincial Councils polls, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party yesterday called on the Government to hold elections bringing in new regulations in line with a Cabinet paper adopted during their ‘50-day Government’.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing, Party General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara called on the Government to follow the Cabinet paper which proposed to draft legislation to enable the Government to hold Provincial Council elections under the previous mechanism of electing representatives though a proportional representation system with amendments to ensure 25% women candidates in nomination lists.
The Paper which was passed during the Sirisena-Rajapaksa 52-day Cabinet was presented by Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Mustapha.
“We are calling on the Government to bring in a new bill to the Parliament to hold elections according to the former system and we will support 100% to pass the bill,” he pledged. “If this happens the Chairman of the Elections Commission has said that he can hold elections in April or May.”
However he noted that the Elections Commission had informed them that the Local Government Ministry officials had maintained that a new Cabinet paper needs to be presented to adopt the old system, despite the one passed in November Last year.
“This is definitely another delaying tactic,” Jayasekara noted, accusing the Government of using various delaying tactics to avoid holding Provincial Council elections.
“The Government is trying to delay the holding of the elections via different means and it is using different excuses. After the delimitation report was rejected by the Parliament, a five-member group headed by the Prime Minister was appointed to make recommendations on the matter. The recommendations were to be presented in two months but nothing has happened, so we think that committee is no longer valid. We are calling on the Government to hold the elections on the previous system,” he said.
Noting that a number of issues had come up due to the delay, Jayasekara charged that the United National Party Government was afraid of facing elections. “They doing this to avoid facing defeat,” he accused.
Jayasekara claimed that the Government was instead calling for early Presidential elections, set to be held by January next year.
“Only if the President is running again can he call for an early election, if not it has to be held at the end of the year anyway, it cannot be postponed. But the Provincial Councils can be postponed and that is what is happening now,” he claimed.
Jayasekara however did not say who the Sri Lanka Freedom Party candidate will be for the Presidential election, but noted that there were discussions and differences of opinions among parties in the SLFP-led alliance as well.