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EC to meet on 20 April to decide on next step

The Elections Commission (EC), Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya says the Election Commission will convene on the 20th of April to decide the next step with regard to the 2020 parliamentary election.

“We will know if the country is rid of the coronavirus by the 20th of April and then decide the due course of action,” Deshapriya told The Sunday Morning.

On the 21st of March the polls body issued a Gazette stating that the poll cannot take place on 25th of April and that the Commission will set a date after May 14th to hold the upcoming parliamentary election.

However, earlier this month, the EC in a letter, requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to seek a determination from the Supreme Court on conducting the general elections, in light of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The EC noted that if the new Parliament is to be convened on June 1, the parliamentary polls must be held on May 27 or 28, and that the preparation for the poll should commence on 20th of  April.

However, the polls chief citing the opinions of health experts said it was highly unlikely that the virus situation will be contained by then.

In a response letter (dated 6th April) President’s Secretary  Dr. P. B. Jayasundara said there was no necessity to take the advise of the Supreme Court according to Article 129 of the constitution.

“As per the advice by His Excellency, it is not possible at this point of time to state that the election cannot be held on or before 28th May.”

“I may point out that in terms of Section 24[3] of the Parliamentary Elections Act, the time period giving notice of adjourned poll is not less than 14 days which implies that poll which was postponed, could be held even on 15th day,”Jayasundara’s letter read.