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Parliamentary polls under old system - Elections Commission Chairman

The Parliamentary polls billed for January 5 will be held under the old system, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the Daily News last night.

He was responding to a question as to whether the January 2019 polls would be held under the old system which also had the system for the Preferential Voting system as well or whether it would be conducted under the new system without the Preferential voting system but had the mixed features of both the First Past the Post System and the Proportional Representation system.

“We will have to conduct the Parliamentary polls under the old system as we do not have the new system in place as of yet,” he stressed.

When asked about the preparations for the elections, and whether the Commission was preparing itself for it, then the EC Chairman said that he had delegated the function and the responsibility to the Commissioner- General of Elections MAPC (Chandrawansa) Perera.

Responding to a question as to whether there was a likelihood that the January 5 Parliamentary Polls would be postponed in the light of the UNP and the JVP billed to go to the Supreme Court today claiming that the decision of the President Maithripala Sirisena was in contravention of the Constitution, Deshapriya said that the Elections Commission would allow the Supreme Court to decide that.

Meanwhile, Deshapriya, in an interview given to the BBC Sinhala Service also yesterday, Deshapriya said that the Elections Commission would not be seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court on the dissolution. He added that the Elections Commission was on the dissolution of Parliament and whether it was legal or illegal, Deshapriya has said that the Commission and the Chairman will not venture out to comment on the controversial issue.

He emphasised that the UPFA and one of its coalition partners- the EPDP, were of the opinion that the dissolution was legal but the UNP,JVP and the TNA (which contests under ITAK) were of the opinion that it was illegal.

“The Chairman and the Commission would not venture to comment either way as it would be advantageous to one party and of disadvantage to the other, if we said it was illegal or legal,” he explained.

Asked by BBC Sinhala Service whether there was sufficient time for the preparation for the January 5 polls, he said that there were 53 days this time in contrast to the 51 days last time.

Asked about the holding of the Provincial Elections was also there in the interim, he said that they were getting ready for the preparation of the PC Polls, but now that the Parliamentary polls have come ahead of the PC polls, the Commission was getting ready for the Parliamentary polls.

However, Deshapriya had told BBC that if the UNP, JVP and ITAK were successful in getting an Enjoining Order to hold the Parliamentary elections, they would abruptly halt all the preparations which were hitherto made.

(Daily News)

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