The Election Commission says the postal voting of the 2023 Local Government polls will not go ahead as planned. The postal voting was scheduled to be held from March 28 to March 31.
The decision was reached at a meeting held with the secretaries of the political parties vying for the LG polls.
In a press release, the Commissioner General of Elections, Saman Sri Ratnayake said the election body is expected to reach a decision on the LG poll date after studying the suggestions made by the political party secretaries and the legal matters.
After being repeatedly postponed, the LG election was rescheduled for April 25, however, it is most likely to be postponed as the printing of ballot papers is put on hold due to lack of funds. The Department of Government Printing has made repeated requests from the Finance Ministry to release the funds it needs to go ahead with the printing of ballot papers.
During the meeting, the political party secretaries had proposed to decide on a new election date as, under the prevailing circumstances, the LG polls cannot be held on April 25, as planned.
They also deemed it best to declare a new election date after making sure all necessary facilities are available and the environment is conducive to hold the LG polls.
However, some political party secretaries have stressed that the election should not be postponed under any circumstances due to the interim orders issued by the court. The Supreme Court recently issued an interim order directing the Finance Secretary to refrain from withholding the budgetary allocations for the LG election.
Meanwhile, the tenure of 340 local government bodies, except that of Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha, expired at midnight on March 19. Thereby, the authority of 29 municipal councils has been transferred to municipal commissioners while the authority of 275 local councils was transferred to the secretaries of relevant institutions.