Decision on NE local polls next week
[TamilNet, Friday, 13 September 2002, 20:53 GMT]
The Commissioner of Elections, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake said Friday that he will announce on September 18th his final decision on holding polls to the local authorities in the northeast province scheduled for September 25. The Commissioner had met with Assistant Returning Officers from the NorthEast at his office earlier on Friday.
The Commissioner of Elections sought the views of Assistant Returning Officers who are the District Government Agents in the northeast province regarding the ground situation to hold local polls as scheduled. Assistant commissioners of elections from NorthEast also attended the conference.
The Tamil National Alliance had requested the government to postpone the local government polls for NorthEast province. The TNA said holding local polls would adversely affect the peace negotiation between the government and the LTTE, which is to begin on September 16 at Thailand. A delegation of the TNA met the Prime Minister last week and reiterated its position.
However, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, a constituent of the United National Front government insists that polls to local government institutions in Muslim dominated areas in the east should be held as scheduled.
The TNA has taken a position that the Commissioner of Elections has been empowered under the existing election ordinance to put off already postponed local polls for a second time without parliamentary approval through an amendment to the law.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Elections has sought legal advice from the Attorney General regarding postponing local polls for a second time and the AG's response was not negative, government sources said.