Opposition parties threaten to take fight for polls to the streets 

Wednesday, 15 February 2023 01:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • SJB, NPP and a host of other Opposition parties say they will now take the matter before the court of the people 
  • Says they will resolve the matter of polls on the streets and force the Govt. to hold the Local Government election
  • Opposition also threatens to take legal action and calls on the EC to summon Govt. Printer and Treasury Secretary over the ballot paper fiasco

Opposition political parties are now up in arms after the announcement of the indefinite postponement of the postal vote due to the lack of funds for ballot printing purposes. 

The main opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya says it will take to the streets if the Local Government elections are delayed. Holding a press conference yesterday at the opposition leader’s office, SJB MP Nalin Bandara said the party will ensure the issue relating to the polls is resolved on the streets of the country if the election is postponed. 

He said the Government has attempted many tactics to avoid an election but the SJB will not back down. 

“This is a violation of a human right and we are prepared to seek legal redress once more. If state sector employees act against court orders at the will of the Government we will take strict action against them,” he said. 

“We are also ready to resolve this on the streets. The SJB commenced the struggle on the street against Gotabaya Rajapaksa. We showed the people he is nothing but a puppet and took away any fear the people had. Eventually, he was ousted.” he noted. 

He said President Ranil Wickremesinghe will also have to go the same way as Rajapaksa. He also accused Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) politician Basil Rajapaksa of being behind the plot to delay polls. 

Speaking to the media outside the Election Commission yesterday, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said last week the EC assured the courts it will take the necessary steps to hold elections as scheduled. 

“But today the EC is not even being supported by the Attorney General. The country in the current situation is deviating from the law. We ask the Attorney General to support the EC. If not we will go to court once again. We will also present these facts before the court of the people. We will do everything necessary to protect the rights of the people,” he assured. 

Meanwhile, National People’s Power (NPP) party politburo member Counsel Sunil Watagala said the party requested the EC to summon the Government Printer and the Treasury Secretary before it. “These state sector officials must be brought before the EC and legal action must be taken to hold this democratic election immediately. If not, the NPP will take this fight to the streets to force the Government to hold an election,” he warned. 

Also speaking to the media, Freedom People’s Congress (FPC) member Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said the issue relating to the printing of ballot papers is clearly a result of pressure exerted by the Government. 

“At no time in history has the Government Printer been paid prior to the printing of ballot papers. The expense was always reimbursed after the printing was done,” he said. Holding a press conference, fellow FPC member Dr. Charitha Herath said there is no Government in a situation where the franchise of the people cannot be protected. He said the Treasury Secretary must release the necessary funds immediately. 

Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance Mano Ganesan says instead of an election campaign, the parties and the people have now been forced to launch a campaign calling for elections instead. “We have been left with no choice. We will take this before the court of the people. Let us prepare for a struggle on the streets,” he said.