brand logo
Can’t intervene in releasing funds for election: Speaker

Can’t intervene in releasing funds for election: Speaker

28 Feb 2023 | BY Mirudhula Thambiah

  • Says no legal provision for him to intervene per EC request
  • Wants party leaders and P’ment to decide LG Poll funds

Although the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana yesterday (27) pointed out that there are no legal provisions for him to intervene in releasing funds for the Local Government (LG) poll as requested by the Election Commission (EC) in writing last week, he however, stated that the matter should be decided by the party leaders. 

When queried by The Daily Morning as to what steps he would take to release the funds to hold the LG poll as requested by the EC, Abeywardana said: “That has to be decided by the party leaders. There are no legal provisions for me to get involved, and give legal instructions on how they should disperse their money. The duty of Parliament has been done, and after that, the dispersing of the money is part of the Treasury’s job. They must do it, depending on the income that has been collected by them at that time. That is the position, and beyond that if anything has to happen, it has to be in accordance with the Parliamentarians. The authority is with the Parliament, not one or two MPs. Not even the Speaker has anything to do with that. The MPs have to decide.”

When queried as to when he would hold a party leaders meeting, he noted: “That depends on how the party leaders are available, so we will talk to them and see.”

Meanwhile, when queried by The Daily Morning from the Finance Ministry and Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana yesterday as to whether he had received any request from Parliament or the Speaker to release funds for the LG poll, he said: “No. I have not got any such request from anyone.” When questioned as to whether there would be any funds released for the LG poll expenses, he said: “You have to ask that from the Minister of Finance (President Ranil Wickremesinghe is also the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies).”

Last week, the Chairman of the EC, Attorney Nimal G. Punchihewa wrote to the Speaker, requesting him to intervene to urge the Treasury to release the funds required to hold the LG election. The EC decided at a meeting held last week not to hold the LG poll on 9 March as scheduled due to the reasons that have arisen and which are beyond the control of the Commission. The EC further stated that a new date for the LG poll would be declared on 3 March. 

Meanwhile, Abeywardana stated that around 1,500 applications have been received by the Constitutional Council to appoint members to the independent commissions. 

More News..