Mahinda Deshapriya on request to let 18-year-olds vote

Mahinda Deshapriya on request to let 18-year-olds vote

Written by Malsha Fernando

12 Aug, 2019 | 10:26 pm

Colombo (News1st) – The youth for Democracy organization staged a demonstration opposite the Elections Commission demanding for a franchise for youth who are 18 years of age. The demonstrators pointed out that although according to the constitution and current system any citizen who is of 18 years of age cannot be entered into the electoral list until they are 19 years of age.

The Youth for Democracy organization requested for this procedure to be made more efficient. The Elections Commissions took steps to speak with the demonstrators and inquire into their issues.

Chairman of Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya addressed the media regarding the voters’ request to have their election right since they have completed 18 years.

He stated that their requests could only be fulfilled by the commission alone. He further mentioned that they were hoping to use 2019 electoral register for the Presidential Election but they cannot use that because they are unable to certify the 2018 electoral list. He clarified the issue at hand regarding the electoral list as amending the electoral list begins in May and June and thereby they can only certify the electoral list by October 31st. They cannot use the 2019 electoral list until October 31st and the 2018 electoral list would only be the option, he added. He mentioned that due to this only persons who are 19 years and 6 months old will be eligible to vote in this Presidential Election. The Electoral List Amendment Act of 2012 by the Elections Commission was to be accepted in the Parliament in order to let 18-year-olds vote in the Presidential Election. He further mentioned that this issue should be tackled with the political parties who represent the Parliament and not with the Elections Commission.

In response to a question put forward by the journalists regarding which election they are currently preparing for, he stated that according to the law provincial elections should be held first and that they were prepared for it. He further mentioned that they would have to wait at least until the 3rd week of September to prepare for the presidential election.
He stated that they had been prepared for the presidential election since the 9th of January because the President has the ability to hold the elections early. General Elections are always prepared for as the Parliament has the ability to dissolve independently and hold the General Election, he further stated.
He added that they already prepared the necessary documents for a Presidential Election and necessary documents for the two types of the Provincial Council Elections to be held.

In response to a question raised regarding the possibility of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s seat being taken out as he was appointed the leader of SLPP while representing UPFA in Parliament, Mahinda Deshapriya stated it is not their concern and completely an internal matter within respective political parties.

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