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Writ lodged at Supreme Court against Local Government Election

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A writ lodged with the Supreme Court yesterday (02) by Retd Col. W.M.R. Wijesundara challenging the proposed holding of the Local Government Election claims that the petitioner was informed by the Election Commission that the holding of such an election can only be funded on the basis of ‘revenue or debt obtainment.’

The petition lodged in compliance with Section 140 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka cites the Chairman and the four Members of the Election Commission, the Prime Minister, the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, the Cabinet Secretary and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner argues that there is no benefit to the public, nor the country, by the holding of a Local Government Election in these times, adding that he, upon questioning the Commission under the Right-to-Information Act (RTI) two weeks ago whether funds are available to be allocated for the holding of an election, was informed in writing that Rs. 10 billion, in general, will be required to hold one and that the affair would only be possible in any event was it funded on the basis of what he described as ‘revenue generation or debt obtainment’.

Retd. Col. Wijesundara’s argument, which he backs by producing documented evidence to the Supreme Court, comes in amidst many demands by political parties to hold a Local Government Election, whilst media reports go on claiming that the Government of Sri Lanka has no money to hold one, depicting a growing grudge between democracy and economy.

The petitioner elaborates on the current income status of the country, the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the ratings under which Sri Lanka is designated by international credit rating agencies at the moment, and the government’s income and expenditure for the past three years, thereby questioning as to what would be the benefit of calling in an election to the public, or the country, when;

An island-wide electoral reform is being considered for establishment, Legislation to control the finances of political campaigners and parties is being considered, The political representation of youth and women is decided by percentage, Legislation on candidate transparency is being considered and a parliamentary select committee is appointed in this regard, The serving 8,711 local government members are already an economic and social burden to the country, and negotiations are being held to limit them to one-thirds.

In any event was Sri Lanka compelled to resorting to money-printing amidst the inability to receive debt from both bilateral and multilateral stakeholders, the inflation will once again skyrocket, he goes on, stressing that the occurrence of many crises and social pressure lowering the living standards would be inevitable, was the era of fuel and gas shortages and long-hour power cuts triggered by recession spawned by the aforementioned election costs to return.

The petitioner, therefore, demands that a writ command be issued to the respondents including the Chairman and the four Members of the Election Commission nullifying the organisations advocating for the holding of a Local Government Election, and he also demands that the documents produced before the Court and any other document required for further review be produced and reviewed. The petitioner also demands that a writ command be issued barring further changes in the hearing under time-appropriate interim injunctions until the conclusion of the trial, and barring the impact of the Election Commission’s decision to hold the Local Government Polls.

MIAP

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