December 10, 2019
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    August 05, 2018

    Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has appointed a Delimitation Review Committee, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, fulfilling a crucial requirement to hold the Provincial Council elections.The move comes amidst allegations by Opposition parties that the Government is deliberately delaying the PC elections with the connivance of the Speaker.

    A top parliamentary official said the review committee had already had two meetings. The terms of three PCs, North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern - have expired and by the end of the year, six of the nine PCs will cease to function. The Provincial Council Elections Amendment Act of 2017, required the delimitation report to be passed in Parliament within a month of its submission to Parliament. Although the report was tabled in Parliament by Provincial Council and Local Authorities Minister Faizer Mustapha on schedule, the report was not debated within the stipulated one month due to various reasons. The next step to clear the path for the election, was to appoint a five member Review Committee to go into the boundaries and wards of the constituencies.

    The SLPP last week threatened to go to courts and seek a writ of mandamus against the Election Commission if the independent body failed to act before the end of August to end the stalemate and hold the election.Leader of the SLPP, Prof. G.L. Peiris said the Election Commission Chairman cannot wash his hands off the responsibility to protect the franchise rights of the people since the 19th Amendment had given the Commission wide powers.

    Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said, the 19th Amendment did not give them powers to write the law. “Unless Parliament amends the law postponing the new Provincial Council Election Amendment Act of 2017 from coming into effect, we cannot hold the election under the old system,” he said.

    The Review Committee has to hand over its report within two months to the President.

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