Prof. Peiris predicts general election in mid-2023

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Prof. G. L. Peiris, MP, on Saturday (11), said that a general election would be inevitable in mid-2023. The former External Affairs Minister said that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government was still trying to sabotage the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, as it knew the implications of a very heavy defeat at the forthcoming contest.

Addressing the media, at the Nawala office of Nidahasa Jathika Sabawa, the top spokesman for one of the rebel SLPP groups asserted that an overwhelming Opposition victory would compel President Ranil Wickremesinghe to call for a general election.In terms of the Constitution, the President can dissolve Parliament in March this year.

Prof. Peiris’s SLPP group, too, represents the Nidahas Janatha Sandanaya in the fray at the March 09 LG polls.Alleging that the government, particularly the executive branch, worked overtime to cause uncertainty, regarding the conduct of the March 09 poll, Prof. Peiris emphasised that political, economic and social stability could be restored only by electing a new government.

The former law professor said UNP leader Wickremesinghe, with just one National List MP in the current Parliament, shouldn’t even think of addressing contentious issues, such as the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.Far stronger governments conveniently refrained from handling the issue at hand, Prof. Peiris said. Sri Lanka enacted the 13th Amendment. in Nov. 1987. in the wake of the Indo-Lanka accord of July 1987.

The Opposition called a special media briefing in the wake of one bench of the Supreme Court on Friday (10) granting permission for the 2023 Local Government Election to go ahead as planned by the Election Commission, while another bench postponed till Feb 23 the hearing of a petition filed by retired Army Colonel W.M.R. Wijesundara seeking to defer the polls. Postal voting is scheduled to begin on Feb 22.

At the onset of the briefing, Prof. Peiris explained how President Wickremesinghe tried to subvert the electoral process. The UNP leader would have succeeded if not for the joint effort made by 23 political parties and groups to thwart the despicable move.

Wickremesinghe’s operation meant to indefinitely delay LG polls began with the appointment of a delimitation Committee late last year, Prof. Peiris said, alleging the government targeted the five-member Election Commission. Their strategy was clear, the former Minister said, explaining an attempt made to weaken the Election Commission.

Finally P.S.M. Charles quit the Election Commission as she could not bear the constant pressure exerted by the powers that be, the SLPP National List MP said. Referring to Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, who is also the leader of the MEP and President Wickremesinghe summoning the Election Commission on several occasions, they should be ashamed of the way the Attorney General, too, was involved in the disgraceful operation.

Prof. Peiris questioned the attempt made by the government to prevent the Election Commission seeking the advice of private lawyers for obvious reasons. The Attorney General’s role in the government political project undermined the public faith in that Office, the lawmaker said, adding that those who interfered with the electoral process were personally liable.

Prof. Peiris said that Public Administration and Home Affairs Secretary Neil Bandara Hapuhinna could face a prison term up to three years in case the court was moved against him for issuing directives to Divisional Secretaries not to accept deposits. Premier Gunawardena has contradicted Hapuhinna that he acted on the instructions received from the Cabinet-of-Ministers, Prof. Peiris said.

The former minister rapped IGP C.D. Wickremaratne for submitting highly inflated estimates of funds required by his department to support the conduct of Local Government polls. Prof. Peiris also questioned the conduct of Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena.

There couldn’t be an issue with regard to allocation of funds as the last budget approved in Dec 2022 apportioned Rs 10 bn, Prof. Peiris said.

Courtesy The Island

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Disclaimer: Prof. Peiris predicts general election in mid-2023 - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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