ECONOMYNEXT – Nominations for Sri Lanka’s local government elections will be accepted from January 18 to 21, Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa said.
Punchihewa told EconomyNext on Wednesday January 04, however, that a date for the election can only be announced after nominations have been accepted.
Notices calling for nominations for 340 local government bodies were also released by district secretaries on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s local government elections scheduled for 2023 have been mired in controversy with opposition parties accusing the government of delaying the polls because the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) fears an embarrassing defeat.
Members to the local government bodies need to be appointed by March 20, for which elections need to be held before March 10. However, an official date for the election has yet to be announced and until this week there was uncertainty whether polls would take place at all. In fact, the uncertainty persists, particularly in the wake of a writ petition filed before the Supreme Court by a retired military official seeking an order suspending the local government elections citing Sri Lanka’s ongoing currency crisis, the worst in decades.
According to media reports, the petitioner has questioned the benefit to the public of holding an election at present, noting Sri Lanka’s economic situation.
The main opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), meanwhile has been claiming for weeks that neither the SLPP nor President Ranil Wickremesinghe has any intention of holding the local government polls anytime soon.
The party said last week that it has already received a large number of applications requesting nomination. Interviews with candidates were held on December 30 at the party headquarters. (Colombo/Jan04/2022)
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