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    General election postponed – Election Com. Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya

    March 19, 2020

    The general election cannot be held as scheduled on March 25th, said the Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya.


    Addressing a media briefing at the Election Commission this afternoon he said that due to the threat of the Coronavirus spreading, it is impossible to hold an election at this point.
    He noted that once the election is postponed, it can only be rescheduled 14 days after the previously scheduled date.

    The Election Commission had structured a time table for the calling of postal voting applications, postal voting and training election officers. However, due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak and the government declaring holidays, this time table has now changed.
    The Election Commission Chairman noted that even if the WHO or the Health authorities say that it is safe to have the election, the Election Commission cannot hold the election on April 25th.

    He said that although the accepting of nominations ended at 12.00 noon today (19), it would take several more days to remove the rejected nominations and issue a Gazette which includes the candidate numbers and the names of the polling centres. He said however, that the gazette could be issued by around next Monday.

    Deshapriya noted that the election postponement cannot be declared until the gazette including the nomination list is publicized under the Election Act provisions, adding that he intends to declare the date the election would be held on March 26th.

    However, he said that the election date would be determined eventually based on the Coronavirus situation in the country.

    Responding to media queries the Election Commission Chairman noted that many nominations of political parties and independent groups had been rejected.

    Other members of the Election Commission President’s Counsel Nalin Abeysekara and Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole and other election Commission officials were present at this media briefing.

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