MR suspects attempt made to postpone provincial polls

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the Government has gazetted the 20th Amendment to the Constitution with a view to postponing elections to the provincial councils.

Rajapaksa said that the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provinces were to stand dissolved in a few weeks time, in early October.

The former President said that if passed into law, the 20th Amendment would allow not only the postponement of all PC elections, but also the extension of the terms of all existing PCs up to September 2019 in a direct violation of the franchise and the sovereignty of the people.

“The proposed postponement of the PC elections comes in the context where the local Government elections which were due in March 2015 have also been indefinitely postponed. This is the latest in a long list of outrages against democracy perpetrated by this government which came into power through a conspiracy aided by interested foreign parties on 8 January 2015,” he said.

He says every member of the SLFP and the UPFA in Parliament should oppose the proposed 20th Amendment and the Amendment to the provincial council elections law brought with a view to postponing the forthcoming provincial council elections and to extend the terms of the existing provincial councils without an election.

“The SLFP/UPFA group in parliament can deprive the government of the two thirds majority needed to pass this Amendment. Because this 20th Amendment impinges on the people’s sovereignty and the franchise, it will require a referendum as well. We will be petitioning the Supreme Court in this regard. But the SLFP/UPFA parliamentarians acting together can block this in the legislature. They are duty bound to do so to safeguard the rights of the people. If the need is to hold all the PC elections on the same day, the government can bring forward the elections to all Provincial Councils to 2017, instead of postponing the elections till 2019,” he added. (Colombo Gazette)