Northeast elections postponed till January 24

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 June 2003, 15:16 GMT]
The elections to fifty local government institutions in the northeast province which were scheduled to be held on June 25 has been postponed for another six months. The new election date is January 24,2004, election department sources said.

According to the existing Local Government Election Ordinance under Section 38/3, Returning Officers who are government agents of electoral districts are empowered to take a decision to hold election or not depending on the ground situation where the election is to be held, sources said.

Under this provision, government agents of the districts of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara have decided not to hold the once postponed elections to fifty one local bodies including two municipal councils, three urban councils and about forty five Pradeshiya Sabahs in the northeast as the ground situation is not conducive to hold such elections, election department sources said.

The decision to postpone the northeast local election was taken following the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill was inconsistent with the Article 12(1) of the Constitution and could be passed in parliament only by two third majority required in terms of Article 84(2) of the Constitution, official sources said.

The Bill empowered the Commissioner of Elections to cancel the nomination papers of candidates earlier submitted to contest the local elections in the northeast and to call for fresh nominations, sources said.

The United National Front government presented the draft Local Authorities (special provisions) Bill to the parliament to fulfill its promise given to Tamil National Alliance that it would hold the postponed local elections in the northeast afresh calling fresh nominations, sources said


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