I will certify it this week: Speaker

Published : 9:11 am  August 29, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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LA Election (Amendment) Bill

LATE-CITY--DM-1-254By Sandun A Jayasekera

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday he would sign the Local Authorities Election (Amendment) Bill this week enabling the Elections Commission to conduct the much delayed local government polls this year.   

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya is on record as saying he will be in a position to conduct the LG polls before the end of this year if the Speaker Jayasuriya certifies the Bill before September 15.   Speaker Jayasuriya told Daily Mirror that he would sign the Bill this week as soon as the Legal Draftsman sent it to him.   

“I am pushing the Legal Draftsman and the Secretary General of Parliament to expedite the process to certify the Bill as early as possible,” he said.   Meanwhile, Mr. Deshapriya said the Elections Department tried its best to hold the polls on or before December 9 as the Department needs a minimum of 75 days to make preparations for the polls once the legislation was made effective.   

“We will have to avoid clashing with vital government functions such as the GCE O/L examinations which falls in December. However, if we are unable to conduct the polls before the start of the GCE O/L exam, it would definitely be held in the first week of January 2018,” Mr. Deshapriya said.   He said the Elections Department hoped to finalize the 2017 Voter Registration List by September 30 and this electoral register will be used for the upcoming polls and it was vital for all those above 18 years of age to ensure that their name was included in the 2017 electoral list.   Th 2017 Voters Register could be inspected on the commission website and voters could check the deleted and newly added names to it from the 2016 register. The 2017 electoral register can also be checked at the Grama Niladhari offices.   Mr. Deshapriya said some 200,000 new voters had been registered in the 2017 list and therefore the Elections Department would definitely use the new electoral register for the local government polls.  

The Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill was approved in Parliament last Friday.