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Sri Lanka EC asks to increase security at government printer ahead of elections

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Colombo, Feb 17 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s election commission has asked the police to step up security at the government printer where the ballot papers for the March 9 local elections are being printed.

In view of the election work, the government printer Gangani Liyanage has asked for a strength of 60 policemen to be deputed at her office round the clock for security.

The Election Commission chairperson Nimal Punchihewa told reporters that a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police was sent on Thursday asking for an increase in the security arrangements.

Sri Lanka will hold the local council polls on March 9, the country’s election commission announced in January, ending speculation that the election may be postponed again due to the prevailing economic crisis in the country.

The election commission formally announced on Friday that postal voting for the election would be rescheduled due to delays on the part of the government printer.

The postal voting was to have taken place on February 22, 23 and 24. The public officials on election duties are eligible to apply for postal or advance voting.

Liyanage said that she was short of funds to carry out printing as the treasury failed to provide her with sufficient funds due to the ongoing economic crisis.

The government printer said that she was caught in the middle of the election commission dictates and the order by way of a government circular which had banned all state institutions from carrying out services pending settlement of bills.

The opposition charged that the government printer was acting in collusion with the government’s political authority which wants to avoid facing the election for fear of losing.

The election to appoint new administrations to 340 local councils for a 4-year term was postponed since March last year.

The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the majority of councils in the last election held in 2018. The party which has suffered major splits since the economic crisis is accused of fearing the election and wanting to postpone it. They deny the opposition’s claim.

The opposition parties have alerted the international community of the government’s plans to postpone the local elections.

The main opposition on Thursday called on the European Union office in Colombo while the National People’s Power Party had alerted the UN resident representative’s office, party sources said. PTI CORR NB NB

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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