ELECTIONS POSTPONED (99 Mar 10)
The Supreme Court on Tuesday the 9th granted the Commissioner of Elections elections to postpone the provincial council elections fixed for the 1st April 1999, after consulting the political parties. The Commissioner went before the Supreme Court requesting permission to change the election date , following protests mainly from the Catholic Bishops.
However there is a legal opinion that the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to interfere once the date of election is fixed. Most of the lawyers who represented the political parties argued before the Supreme Court that the date of the election could be changed only by an act of parliament.The Court is yet to give the reasons for the decision.
The hierarchy of the Church are clearly playing politics and are interested in reestablishing their hegemony and enjoying the privileges they had under the colonial powers using the elections and religion as a weapon. According to their argument very few dates are suitable for an election. No body would know definitely for how long the curfew will be imposed after an election and the Sri Lankan calendar is full of very important dates for the Sinhala people as well as the ethnic communities.The Commissioner of Elections cannot fix a date within a few days from these important days as curfew could affect the activities of the people on these days.