gossip lanka

Postal voting of LG election not to be held on scheduled dates

The Election Commission says the postal voting of the 2023 Local Government polls, scheduled to be held from March 28 to March 31, will not go ahead as planned.

The decision was reached at a meeting held earlier today (March 23) with the secretaries of the political parties vying for the LG polls.
In a press release, the Commissioner General of Elections, Saman Sri Ratnayake said the election body is expected to reach a decision on the LG poll date after studying the relevant legal matters and the suggestions made by the political party secretaries.

After being repeatedly postponed, the LG election was eventually rescheduled for April 25, however, it is most likely to be deferred as the printing of ballot papers is put on hold due to a lack of funds.

The Department of Government Printing has made repeated requests from the Finance Ministry seeking the funds it needs to go ahead with the printing of ballot papers.

The Government Printer recently warned that the already-printed ballot papers would not be delivered to the Election Commission unless the Treasury provides the requested sum of money for the Printing Department to cover the costs incurred thus far.

During the meeting, several political party secretaries had proposed that a new election date be decided on as the LG polls, under the prevailing circumstances, cannot be held on April 25, as planned. Meanwhile, some deemed it best to declare a new election date after making sure all necessary facilities are available and the environment is conducive to holding the LG polls.

However, several political party secretaries have stressed that the election should not be postponed under any circumstances due to the interim orders issued by the court. The Supreme Court recently issued an interim order directing the Finance Secretary to refrain from withholding the budgetary allocations for the LG election.

Meanwhile, the tenure of 340 local government bodies, except that of Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha, expired at midnight on March 19. Thereby, the authority of 29 municipal councils has been transferred to municipal commissioners while the authority of 275 local councils was transferred to the secretaries of relevant institutions.