Uncertainty surrounding provincial council polls

by Staff Writer 10-06-2018 | 10:44 PM
COLOMBO (News 1st) - Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilaka says that they are considering holding the provincial council election under the old electoral system. The President and the Prime Minister have both said the provincial council elections will be held by the end of this year. A journalist questioned on whether it will be held as in accordance with the new electoral system that was implemented during the recent local government election or whether the Government would revert to the old system. Min. Karunathilaka responding to the query said that several ideas have been put forward by a number of parties. He added that the UNP and some other parties have put forward an idea to hold the election as per the old system.When questioned whether the Government would be able to pass the necessary legislation to revert to the old system, the minister simply said that whatever happens they hope to hold the provincial council polls on the correct date. President Maithripala Sirisena had announced to the SLFP Executive Committee that the Provincial Council election will be held before the end of the year. It has been 7 months since the terms of the North Central Provincial Council, the Eastern Provincial Council, as well as the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, concluded. The tenures of the Northern, Central and North Western Provincial Councils are to conclude in October. The tenures of the Western, Southern and Uva Provincial councils are to conclude by the middle of the year. Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi stated that as per the new elections system the delimitation has to receive the approval of the parliament. He further stated that the parliament had over a month but have been unable to get it done, and if it does not receive the necessary approval there were plans to appoint a committee under the leadership of the Prime Minister. The Elections Commission says it needs a minimum of two and a half months for the election to be held irrelevant of which elections system is followed. Election monitor Paffrel also spoke about approving laws in Parliament to control the amount of money that politicians and political parties spend for election campaigns. Rohana Hettiarachchi urged the government to draft new legislation that controls campaign finances. Addressing recent allegations that politicians had accepted money from the alleged perpetrators of the bond scam, Hettarachi noted having strict campaign finance laws would ensure that the democratic rights of the people are safeguarded. He added that the PAFFREL together with other election monitors had prepared a draft bill which has been provided to the President and the Subject Minister