President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that there was no election to postpone. He denied that the government had taken measured steps to prevent the election from taking place. This was on the basis that the election commission had not called for an election in terms of the law.

The election commission is a caretaker commission. With the passage of the 21st amendment to the constitution, the life span of the Commission comes to an end. However, the present Commission could continue until such time as the members of the updated commission are appointed.

President Wickremesinghe made it a point to defend the Finance Secretary. He stated that the assumption of the Election Commission that the Finance Secretary said that there were no funds required for the election was wrong. There was no election to act first. It is critical that they sit down and decide whether there should be an election.

President Wickremesinghe ordered an opposition MP to shut up and sit down when he attempted to interrupt the President’s speech.

, Kabir Hashim intervened. He asserted that their proposal to set up a Presidential commission to probe the economic assassins who brought ruin to the country’s economy was not heeded by the President. Hashim said the President promised to appoint a Presidential Commission or Parliamentary Select Committee for the purpose. Harshana Rajakaruna said he proposed it three months ago and it never materialised.

In response to Daysiri Jayasekara’s request to appoint a new election commission if the current one is temporary and to hold the election, the President agreed to do so.

The President also quoted from the Supreme Court judgment where it was mentioned that if impediments existed, the election could be postponed. In spite of this, the rights of the people should not be denied. Rauff Hakeem requested the President to appoint an opposition member as Chairman of the Select Committee probing economic crimes. The President said the government had to decide that.

Hakeem also brought up the issue of the Public Finance Committee. The President replied and said the Chair would be appointed from the opposition as a rule according to standing orders. It is up to the opposition to decide but now it has been reported that Mayantha Dissanayake has been appointed to replace Harsha De Silva. Mayantha Dissanayake refused to vacate the position paving the way for Harsha De Silva.

Wickremesinghe pointed out during his speech that the opposition wanted the LG election delayed. This was because they were trying to stop the forward march of the JVP in the countryside. He pointed the finger at many opposition members who agreed that the election should be delayed.

Following the president’s speech, SJB MP Markkar and the head of the SLPP breakaway group Dallas Allahapperuma slammed the President as the key person behind the cancellation of the LG elections.

It is not the Finance secretary or the Government Printer but President Dallas said that he had done this before. He listed one by one how the UNP and other parties in power meddled with the franchise from time to time. He said that the remains of the Election Commission lie in the premises of the Wickremesinghe florists.


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