Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says the National Election Commission must fix a new date for the Parliamentary election.
In a media statement today, the Prime Minister said that on 2 March President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament and fixed 25 April for the poll and 14 May for the first meeting of the new Parliament.
Ten days later, when the first coronavirus patient was found, the President did not have the power to postpone the poll, the Prime Minister said.
He said that under Section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No: 1 of 1981, when the poll cannot be held on the day fixed by the President, the Elections Commission is mandatorily required to fix another day for the poll.
“They have no power to postpone the poll without fixing another date. Such mandatory legal requirements cannot be ignored on the basis of speculation as to what may or may not happen weeks and months into the future. The Elections Commission should first fulfill its duties under Section 24(3) and thereafter take up for discussion any outstanding issues,” the Prime Minister said.
He also said that Sri Lanka is also the only democratic country in the world where political parties petitioned the Supreme Court to get the declaration of a parliamentary election annulled.
“The present scramble to have the parliamentary elections put off is a continuation of that deplorable past,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that things have to come back to normal sooner or later, adding that in eleven of the 25 administrative districts, there have been no coronavirus patients at all while in another seven districts, there have been only one or two patients, and five to seven patients in two more districts.
Only five districts have a high incidence of coronavirus patients, he said.
The Prime Minister said that today, Sri Lanka is one of the safest places to be in the whole world and has achieved this despite an economy that had been driven into the ground, and an unpatriotic and opportunistic opposition bent on undermining the Government at every turn. (Colombo Gazette)