SC begins inquiry into presidential controversy

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 August 2005, 06:10 GMT]
Sri Lanka's two main political parties, the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) are scheduled to inaugurate their presidential election campaigns this week in Colombo, expecting that the 5-member bench of the Supreme Court would decide in favor of such election should be held this year.

The ruling SLFP rally will be held on August 26 at Kiribathgoda with the Prime Minister and its presidential candidate Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse participating. The UNP rally will be held on August 27 at Colombo Town Hall rounds with its Presidential candidate Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe in attendance, sources said.

Meanwhile, the five member SC bench presided by the Chief Justice Mr.Sarath N.Silva is to begin its inquiry Monday (August 22) into the petition by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), all monks' party and counter petitions by the Commissioner of Elections, SLFP, Liberal Party, and Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) on the next presidential election date controversy.

The other four members of the SC bench are Justices Mr. Nihal Jayasinghe, Mr.Nissanka Udalagama, Mr.Nimal Dissanayake, and Mr.Nimal Gamini Amarathunge.

JHU in its petition has sought the SC to order the Commissioner of Elections to hold the next Presidential elections before the end of 2005.The JHU has cited the Commissioner of Elections and the Attorney General as the respondents.

The SLFP in its counter petition has sought the court to order the Elections Commissioner to hold the election before the end of next year 2006. The Liberal Party and the CPA have filed their objections against the JHU petition; supporting the SLFP's counter objection.

However the Commissioner of Elections, one of the respondents cited in the JHU petition, has filed a statement in the Supreme Court that according to the gazette notification issued on December 22, 2000, Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge's second term of presidency expires this year 2005. He has accordingly directed his officials to prepare the election commission machinery to hold next election before the end of 2005, legal sources said.

 

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