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Govt. still undecided on Provincial Council elections

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The long-delayed Provincial Council (PC) elections see further delays as the Government is yet to take a decision on the date for the same, The Morning learnt.

It was further learnt that the election would be delayed till mid-next year.

State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs Sarath Weerasekara said the Government had not yet decided on a date but the elections would definitely be held soon, as the holding of PC elections was a constitutional requirement.

“We can’t hold the election under the present Act, and it takes some time. At present, we are studying the PC system; whether the PCs are useful for the country or whether they are a burden to the Central Government,” he said.

The State Minister further noted that there was a public discussion on the PC system and several organisations were proposing various systems to be implemented.

“One such proposal is to divide the country into three provinces, like was done during ancient times where the country was divided scientifically into three parts called ‘Ruhunu’, ‘Maya’, and ‘Pihiti’,” Weerasekara said, adding that he had not yet taken a decision but was studying all the proposals submitted to him.

However, in February, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the PC elections would be held two months after the general election.

At present, all nine PCs are not functioning right now as their terms of office expired. The term of office of the Southern PC ended on 10 April and the term of office of the Western PC ended on 21 April; the term of office of the Sabaragamuwa PC ended on 26 September 2017, while the term of office of the Eastern PC ended on 30 September 2017, and the term of office of the North Central PC ended on 1 October 2017. The terms of the Central, North Western, and Northern PCs ended in September 2018 and the term of office of the Uva PC ended on 8 September last year.