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Speaker rubbishes Sajith’s allegation of EC changes

Speaker rubbishes Sajith’s allegation of EC changes

2 months ago | BY Mirudhula Thambiah, Shehara Ratnasinghe

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  • Says no such plan ‘so far’
  • SJB alleges conspiracy to sabotage poll

Following Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa alleging that the Election Commission (EC) is to be reconstituted at today’s (25) maiden Constitutional Council (CC) meeting – the latter, a body in which he is an ex-officio member – thereby delaying the upcoming Local Government (LG) poll, Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana yesterday (24) denied that there are any such plans at present. 

When queried by The Daily Morning yesterday regarding whether the CC would be reconstituting the EC at today’s meeting, Abeywardana said: “No. All rubbish. Nothing like that. Not so far. He has to have something to say as he cannot survive otherwise.”

Premadasa claimed yesterday that President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Cabinet of Ministers and the rest of the members of the Government are planning on sabotaging the LG election process by bringing about changes in the members of the EC through the CC, which will convene today. “We hear discussions related to a conspiracy for sabotaging the ongoing election process by bringing about changes in the members of the EC via the CC. We will certainly beat this conspiracy if the meeting of the CC tomorrow will be used to sabotage or postpone the election, which is to be held on 9 March, as it will be depriving the people’s right to vote. Therefore, I would advise all the responsible members of the CC in advance to please not include your devious plans in tomorrow’s agenda.” Premadasa affirmed that the SJB will take steps to protect the officials of the EC in order to secure the people’s sovereignty. “Do not interfere with the members of the EC. The SJB promises to protect all the officials of the EC including the Chairman. I would lead the process to beat these conspiracies that destroy the people’s sovereignty while securing the people’s rights by facilitating elections. Our intention is to leave no room for any conspiracies to delay the election on 9 March by even a day or an hour.” Premadasa further added that the Government carried out this large-scale conspiracy against the people by using several officials such as Publication Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and LG Ministry Secretary, Neil Bandara Hapuhinna and the Treasury Secretary. “Once, this conspiracy was executed in the form of the Hapuhinna incident, where the latter prohibited District Secretaries from accepting bail deposits through false and fraudulent verdicts, which were said to have been taken by the Cabinet. This was an act of treason. In another instance, by using the Treasury Secretary, affidavits were filed stating that the sourcing of funds for the election has become a challenge and that if Rs. 10 billion was spent on the election, the Government will be unable to pay the pensions, salaries, Samurdhi, and other concessions to the people.”

Further, SJB Parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna also stated at a media briefing yesterday that the postponement of the election by replacing the EC members will have dire consequences. “It is absolutely certain that there is enough money in the Treasury to hold the election. The Finance Ministry has never addressed a lack of funds. It is just that the President and the ones in power lack the incentive to hold this election. However, if they prolong holding the election further, we will come out and stand up for democracy in the country,” said Rajakaruna.

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