ECSL poised to declare election date unless Court issues injunction today

Monday, 8 July 2024 02:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake

Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake has said if the Supreme Court issues a restraining order on the petition to prevent the holding of the Presidential election, the announcement of the election date will need to be suspended.

He said that after 17 July the ECSL will be empowered to announce the date for calling nominations for the election. Accordingly thereafter the ECSL will be able to accept nominations 16-21 days following the announcement. He also noted polling will take place within 4-6 weeks from the date of calling for nominations.

“If the Court does not issue an injunction order preventing the holding of elections, the Presidential elections can go ahead unabated,” he said. 

The Presidential election is scheduled to take place between 17 September and 16 October. Ratnayake further said that once the Election Commission assumes its authority, it will review the Constitution and determine suitable dates for accepting nominations and conducting the vote.

Additionally, he mentioned that this year alone, approximately 170,000 new voters are expected to participate in the election. 

Last week, an entrepreneur C.D. Lenawa submitted a petition to the Supreme Court seeking an interpretation of the current President’s constitutional tenure.

The petition highlighted the necessity of clarifying the exact duration of the President’s term and called for an interim order to delay the upcoming Presidential election pending resolution of this interpretation. It has also called for an interim order to delay the upcoming presidential election until this interpretation is provided.

National People’s Power (NPP), Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have requested the courts to be intervening petitioners. A similar petition was submitted to the Supreme Court during the tenure of former President Maithripala Sirisena, which the Supreme Court dismissed.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice, is set to hear the fundamental rights petition today.