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READY TO HOLD PC ELECTIONS IN DECEMBER - DESHAPRIYA

The Election Commission will hold the Provincial Council Election in early December once the legal and constitutional hindrances to the process are swiftly resolved, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday.

He urged all political parties to take measures to hold the Provincial Council Election as soon as possible. Resolving the issues regarding the new electoral system will enable the Election Commission to call for provincial council election nominations in mid October for the Northern, Central, North-Western, Southern, Western and Eastern provinces, Deshapriya said.

He said the Election Commission has sent a special request letter to the secretaries of all political parties requesting them to be committed to hold the Provincial Council Election as soon as possible.

While requesting not to blame the Election Commission for any delay in holding elections, Deshapriya pointed out that there are four options available to Parliament to solve matters relating to the electoral system.

“Firstly, parliament can approve the delimitation report as it is, with a two third majority. Secondly they can opt to revise the report by a committee appointed by the Prime Minister. If not, they can change the 50-50 ratio and prepare an early and speedy delimitation report again. Or they can go back to the previous preferential vote system. If parliament can decide on one of these four alternatives, we will be able to hold the Provincial Council Election early December before the school examination period commences,” Deshapriya said.

He said the registration forms for the Electoral Register will be sent to Grama Niladhari officers by May. “The distribution of these forms will commence by mid May and will conclude on July 30. By September we will be able to finish with the revisions on the electoral register,” he said.

Asked if the Election Commission is able to hold the Provincial Council Election at short notice, Deshapriya said the commission will request for three months to prepare for the election.

“The last time we prepared for a hasty election, we were thrown into a difficult position. So we will request for three months to prepare for the election,” Deshapriya said.

Deshapriya also said the Election Commission together with PAFFREL will hold a workshop today at the Water’s Edge for all political party representatives and other civil organisations on the necessity of holding the provincial council election.