Sri Lanka president, govt cannot continue if defeated at local polls: opposition

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SJB general secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara
ECONOMYNEXT – President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) government will all but forfeit their right to continue in the event of a defeat at the local government elections scheduled for March, the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) said.

SJB general secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told reporters on Monday January 09 that the party will contest for nearly all 340 local bodies at the local government elections if they take place as scheduled in March, though it is still unclear whether polls will be held at all.

“We know that by now the SLPP’s mandate has collapsed. What we need is to provide the people the opportunity to express their will,” the MP said.

Expressing his confidence in the prospects for the SJB, Madduma Bandara claimed that the party has more members applying for nominations than there are vacancies at local bodies around the country.

Mandum Bandara also reiterated the party’s allegation that the SLPP-led government is hellbent on delaying the election.

“Once they lose this election, the president and this government will cease to hold the right to continue. The government fears this, so it is trying to delay it,” he said.

The government is resorting to various tactics to delay the polls, the MP claimed, pointing to a recent private member’s bill seeking to increase youth representation at the upcoming polls and a proposal to reduce the number of representatives at local bodies from 8,000 to 4,000.

“We’re ready for anything, but hold the election on time,” he said.

Though it is uncertain at present whether the elections will be held on time, both the SJB and the ruling SLPP appear to be gearing up for a showdown sooner rather than later.

Earlier Monday morning, the SLPP placed cash deposits for the Colombo district.

Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told reporters at the event that the SLPP is the only party that is actively organising for the polls and is ready to face elections.

courtesy economynext

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