The Election Commission (EC) today (08) once again failed to announce a date for the upcoming general elections and instead said it would be announced within the week.
Chairman of the Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday told media that the date would be announced today following a meeting with the Commission members.
Holding a press conference today evening at the Commission, Deshpriya said the date will only be announced later this week.
“We will definitely announce the date within this week” Deshapriya assured adding that however the preferential numbers for candidates will be gazetted tomorrow (09) without further delay.
The Chairman revealed that the Commission had met with a number of concerned and relevant parties to seek their opinions on the matter including the country representative of the World Health Organization Dr Razia Pendse. “She advised us to proceed with caution,” he said. Deshpriya also said the Commission will meet with more health professionals to seek their opinions and expertise during the week.
“Though we have already made a majority of the decisions, this week we will also meet with political parties who have requested for meetings to express their concerns” he added.
The Commissioner said the EC is continuously holding discussions with these organizations and professional bodies in order to ensure the elections are held without any glitch.
Meanwhile, Deshpriya noted that the EC will take steps to also circulate the health guidelines set for elections by the Ministry of Health among the political parties. He said the EC will also request Director of Health Services, Dr Anil Jasinghe to issue these regulations through a gazette to ensure they are enforceable and binding.
During the press briefing, Deshpriya also said the cost of the election may even go beyond the estimated Rs. 9 Billion. According to the EC the Covid 19 pandemic and the necessary precautions needed to be taken in order to hold the polls have already increased the estimated cost by Rs. 2 Billion.