COLOMBO, March 12 (PTI) — Sri Lanka’s Election Commission wrote to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday, asking him to provide the necessary funds to carry out the long-delayed election in the debt-ridden country next month. local council elections.
Due to a number of reasons related to the country’s current economic crisis, local polls scheduled for March 9 have been postponed to April 25.
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Prosecutor Nimal G Punchihewa, chairman of the Election Commission, said he had written to President Wickremesinghe, who also serves as finance minister, urging him to release the necessary funds to hold local polls on the scheduled date.
The move comes after finance ministry officials told the Election Commission last month that the finance ministry had not disbursed funds for local polls.
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Earlier this month, government printer Gangani Liyanage lodged a written request to the finance minister and police chief to hold long-delayed local council elections.
The Election Commission postponed the election due to the inability to print ballots for postal voting on Feb. 21-24, Lianag’s office said.
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka issued a directive to the finance ministry that the vote should not be blocked.
The election date has been set for April 25, and mail-in voting will take place March 18-21, according to the court order.
President Wickremesinghe, who is leading negotiations on a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund, insists the government cannot afford to hold local elections at a time when state spending is prioritized to pay for the necessities of running the country.
However, the opposition accused Wickremesinghe of being afraid to hold elections and subverting democracy to gain political mileage.
The ruling Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna won a majority in parliament in the last election held in 2018. Since the economic crisis, it has suffered a major split.
Elections for the appointment of new executives for 340 local councils, for four-year terms, have been postponed since March last year due to the ongoing economic crisis.
The election is the subject of several court cases, with various parties raising arguments for and against holding an election.
Sri Lanka will encounter an unprecedented financial crisis in 2022, the worst since independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. Due to the serious shortage of foreign exchange reserves, it has triggered domestic political turmoil and led to the resignation of the full-power Rajapaksa family.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)