Provincial Council elections could be held as early as the first week of January provided the revised Delimitation Committee report is gazetted by President Maithripala Sirisena within the next two months, Elections Commission (EC)Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said.

Since the Report of the Delimitation Committee for the Delimitation of electorates in Provincial Councils was not approved by Parliament last Friday, Deshapriya explained that the Speaker has to appoint a five member Committee presided by the Prime Minister to revise the delimitation committee report and added that the Committee had powers only to revise the report and cannot make any other amendments.

Meanwhile, the Speaker with the consent of party leaders will nominate the five-member Committee in the next few days., Speakers Media Spokesman said.

In addition to the Prime Minister, the other members to be appointed to the Committee will be intellectuals who are non-politicians knowledgeable in the field.

Sources close to Jayasuriya said the Speaker has already recommended four members to the committee and his office was now in the process of seeking their individual consent.

Deshapriya, meanwhile said “the Northern Provincial Council would be dissolved on October 25. If the amendments are made and the revised document is gazetted within two months, the Election Commission could call for nominations by end of October”.

He further said that if the government is willing to conduct the elections under the old system, the amendments and the Delimitation Report are not necessary.

In the meantime, Provincial Council and Local Government Ministry Secretary Kamal Padmasiri said the Ministry has nothing to do with the formulation of the report.

“The decision is now with the Committee that will be appointed by the Speaker of Parliament under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister. They will make the final decision,” he said.

The Speaker media unit on Friday said since the Report of the Delimitation Committee for the Delimitation of electorates in PC’s was not approved by Parliamentthe Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya has taken Constitutional action according to the Section 4 (12) of the Bill. The issue according to the Speaker’s Media Unit was discussed at length at the Committee on Parliamentary Affairs and the Speaker’s view was that the Provincial Council elections should not be postponed..

The Speaker had also exchanged views with the Elections Commission Chairman and the Delimitation Committee for an early election. The relevant parties have agreed to provide full support to hold the provincial elections in January 2018 if the committee appointed by the Speaker and headed by the Prime Minister can provide relevant recommendations by middle of October, Speakers Media Unit sources added. 

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