Timing of Electoral Amendments ?

Timing of Electoral Amendments ?

Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has once again reiterated that the election amendment bills presented to Parliament are not anticipated to result in any postponement of elections.

Despite the promise given by the Minister at a press conference held by the Presidential Media Division, civil society seems uncomfortable with the amendments. Civil society representatives argue that if these amendments are not relevant to the forthcoming elections, why are they being debated at this point in time?

Elections belong to the people

Chairman of the People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Rohana Hettiarachchi, said, “Elections don’t belong to political parties, governments, or political leaders. Elections belong to the people.” He added, “The presidential election must definitely be held between September 17 and October 17. The president cannot change that, nor can the cabinet, nor Basil Rajapaksa.”

Parliamentary elections are not due until 2025, but the president has the authority to dissolve parliament and call for elections. Parliament can also vote to dissolve itself. The SLPP currently holds a majority in Sri Lanka’s legislature, and Basil Rajapaksha, the founder of the Lotus grouping, as well as Mahinda Rajapaksha, are calling for parliamentary elections first.

Consolidate Power

The winner of the presidential election could consolidate power in a follow-up general election to form a stable government, argue the Rajapaksha brothers. The 2020 scenario was very much in contrast to this situation. In 2019, Gotabaya won the presidential poll in a landslide, and then the parliamentary election was held.

Basil and Mahinda never came up with the argument for parliamentary elections first Iin the past.   The Leader of the NPP, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, said in Toronto that the call for parliamentary elections first is nothing more than political opportunism by the Rajapakshas. The Rajapaksas, nor anyone else in the SLPP, voiced this concern when the SLPP secured a two-thirds majority in 2020, months after the party’s candidate and another Rajapaksa brother, Gotabaya, won the 2019 presidential poll in a landslide, points out a political analyst.

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