Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Election Commission has postponed the parliamentary elections for nearly two months in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed seven people and infected 295 others in the country.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on March 2 dissolved the Parliament, six months ahead of schedule and called a snap election on April 25.
A gazette notice signed by the three members of the National Election Commission announcing June 20 date of the election was issued on Monday.
The EC has written to President Rajapaksa asking him to seek the highest court’s opinion on a possible constitutional standoff arising from the postponement of the election.
It said that the postponement meant that parliament would not be able to meet on June 2, which is three months from the dismissal of last parliament on March 2.
However, Rajapaksa asserted that it was the election commission’s job to fix the polls date and as such no need for the Supreme Court’s intervention.
Earlier, the election commission met with the government officials and reviewed the pandemic situation affecting the election machinery.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
On Monday, the government dropped its decision to relax the nationwide curfew and extended it to April 27 following a sudden spike of 41 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. On Sunday, the government announced to partially lift the curbs from Monday to boost economic activity.
The island nation has been under a 24-hour curfew since March 20 to combat the deadly viral infection.
All opposition parties and many civil society groups have urged the government to show caution in trying to rush through holding the election.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 295 COVID-19 cases, including seven deaths, and 96 recoveries, since the first viral infection was reported in the country on March 11.
The parliamentary polls were announced 6 months ahead of the schedule as Rajapaksa, who was elected as president in November, wanted a new Parliament to implement his mandate.
Rajapaksa is also under pressure to re-summon the dissolved Parliament in order to approve finances for government business from May.
The previous Parliament had approved funds till April 30.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.