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Sri Lankan election monitors raise concern over polls postponement

Sri Lanka's local election monitors, PAFFREL and CaFFE on Thursday expressed concern over the Cabinet's decision to postpone Provincial Council polls from the agreed date of October 2017. 

"If the government intended to conduct elections to all 9 provinces, the government must disclose the time frame it expects to hold polls to all provinces whether it would be after September to October of 2017 or after October 2018, after April 2019 or October 2019?" PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. 

"Suspicion was building up among the people that the government’s decision to conduct PC polls on a single day may be a ruse to postpone all future elections," he added. 

CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said "the election could only be postponed if the government received people’s consent at a referendum."

“Not even a two third majority of Parliament could postpone the PC election. The SLFP has a history of postponing elections unlike the UNP. However, both parties are in unison postponing elections today. Not even the opposition parties including the joint opposition keen on calling for polls,” he added. 

"Civil society organisations (CSO) also continue to keep mum over government’s anti-democratic actions in the name of ‘good governance'," Mr Tennakoon added.