Sri Lanka’s local council term ends on Sunday night amid uncertainty over elections
The government had said that elections are not a priority in the event of paucity of resources. Rohana Hettiarachi and Manjula Gajanayake, associated with two election monitoring groups in the country, alleged that the government was not interested in holding elections.
The four-year term of Sri Lanka’s 340 local councils ends on Sunday night, but election watch groups believe the chances of holding body elections scheduled for April 25 are slim. The local body elections were postponed till April 25 due to the prevailing economic crisis in the country. These elections were earlier to be held on March 9. The government had said that elections are not a priority in the event of paucity of resources. Rohana Hettiarachi and Manjula Gajanayake, associated with two election monitoring groups in the country, alleged that the government was not interested in holding elections.
Minister of State for Local Government Janaka Vakkumbura told reporters that since the four-year term of local councils in Sri Lanka ends on Sunday night, the government has to hand over control of these councils to special commissioners. “They will be placed under the charge of municipal commissioners and divisional secretaries as per the local council act,” Vakkumbura said.
The elected officials who are on polling day duty will vote through postal ballots from March 28 to 31. However, the government printer has announced that his department is unable to issue postal ballots by Monday’s deadline due to lack of funds. Sri Lanka’s Election Commission has requested the government to release the necessary funds to conduct local council elections. Officials said that the Commission has not yet received its reply. Opposition parties, who have filed a petition in the Supreme Court, have said that contempt of court cases will be launched against government officials who refuse to comply with the interim order of the apex court.
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