News

EC caught in no-man’s land

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Election Commission (EC) raised concerns over some practical difficulties it’ll face if both provincial council and presidential elections are held this year.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, EC Director General Saman Ratnayake said the presidential election cannot be delayed and must be held between 9 November and 8 December under the prevailing laws of the country, unless otherwise amended.

Ratnayake said that if the PC election was also held this year, the EC would face some practical issues.

However, he said that if the Government decided to go ahead and hold both elections this year, the EC would have no option but to hold both elections. “Holding two different elections at the same time would confuse the voters as well. The political parties will also find it difficult. Some political parties prefer to contest PC elections alone while they join hands with others and form alliances to support presidential candidates,” Ratnayake said. With just five months remaining this year, Ratnayake said the EC would need at least two months prior notice to prepare for an election.

“Since the presidential election cannot be postponed, the nominations would need to be called between 20 September and 15 October,” he said.

When asked if the Commission had the strength to manage the workload of two different elections at the same time, Ratnayake stressed that if the Government decided to go ahead with two elections this year, the Commission had to somehow manage the work.