Sri Lanka: Crisis on democracy due to lack of funds, issue of postponement of local elections in Sri Lanka heats up

Posted on 1st Mar 2023 03:51 pm by rohit kumar

The issue of postponing the local elections in Sri Lanka continues to be a hot topic. Opposition parties are trying to put the government in the dock regarding this. Voting for the local elections was due on March 9. But the Election Commission postponed the election saying that it did not have the money to print ballot papers and other election works.


The general assessment in the Sri Lankan media was that the ruling party would face a humiliating defeat in these elections. There have been allegations from some quarters that the Election Commission made an excuse for the lack of resources to give relief to the ruling party. Now a group of MPs led by Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament Sajith Premadasa has demanded Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena summon the Finance Secretary. These MPs have submitted their letter in this regard to Abeywardhena.


In this letter, an explanation has also been sought regarding the letter written by Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa to the Speaker. It is said that Punchhieva wrote this letter to the speaker on February 24, asking him to arrange funds for the local elections. The announcement of postponing the election had already been made before sending this letter.


President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that at present there is no money to hold elections. In a statement given in Parliament, he said that all the parties should discuss this and find a solution. He said- 'The money is not available now. By the way, there is no election ahead. The Election Commission has not announced any new election schedule. What can we do then?


In this connection, Premadasa along with a group of opposition MPs met the Speaker on Tuesday. He claimed that if funds were arranged, the Election Commission would be ready to hold the elections immediately. He said that Rs 10 billion was allocated for the election work, which the government is not releasing. Premadasa has warned that if the local elections are not held, the prestige of the Parliament will also suffer.


Premadasa was accompanied by leaders of his party Samgai Jana Balawegaya (SJP) as well as dissident leaders of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujuna Peramuna (SLPP) who went to meet the speaker. He demanded Abeywardhena call the Finance Secretary and tell him that the opposition MPs wanted to discuss the problem of paucity of funds with him. Opposition MPs said- 'We want to present our arguments with figures in front of the Finance Secretary. After that, they can also present their stand as to why they are not giving money to the Election Commission.


But the speaker said that there is no such legal provision under which he can call the finance secretary using the power given to the parliament. While the opposition MPs argued that the Speaker can use his authority to call the Finance Secretary.


Also Read: Pakistan Economic Crisis: 10 lakh workers will get jobs in Pakistan, industries hit by the economic crisis

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