Polls this year if approved by Parliament: EC

Elections Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday if Parliament approves the delimitation report on Provincial Councils within a month, then his office would be in a position to hold elections to six provincial councils this year.

He said if all the chips fall into place, the elections for the North-
Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces could be held before the end of this year.

Mr. Deshappriya told a media conference the term of office of North-Western, Central and Northern Provincial Councils would in September and as such holding the elections to the six PCs before December 15 would not be a problem for the EC.

“It is a great impediment for democracy and the yahapalana concept if conducting of elections to the PCs continues to be postponed. It is the responsibility of all those concerned to agitate and build up public opinion to hold the elections on time. I believe Parliament will clear the remaining roadblocks with the assistance of all political parties,” he said. "If Parliament fails to pass the delimitation report, the Prime Minister has the power to appoint a review committee to go through the delimitation report and make recommendations. Based on the recommendation that the future PC polls should be conducted on a 50% on the first past the post system and 50% on the proportional representative system, a new delimitation report has to be prepared in a short period of time and pass it. Failed all these attempts, the last resort is to abolish the new electoral system through a Parliamentary Act and hold the PC polls under the old system.".

Mr. Deshapriya said if the government resorted to any of these measures and paved the way for to hold polls for the six PCs, the EC was ready to call nominations by October 2 and hold the elections before the December GCE O/L examination. (Sandun A Jayasekera)