In a situation where the government’s continued moves to postpone local government election using certain obstacles were removed a certain faction of the government, when holding the election is about to be announced, is attempting to postpone the election using a judiciary mechanism. However, this attempt would be defeated by taking to the streets if necessary says the General Secretary of the JVP Comrade Tilvin Silva.
He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today (20th). The Member of the Central Committee of the Attorney at Law Comrade Sunil Watagala too was present.
Speaking further Comrade Tilvin Silva said, “The government continues to engage in a move to postpone the local government election. The LG election has not been held for more than two years. We condemn the moves of a certain faction of the government moving to get the election postponed when all the obstacles that existed have been removed as an unethical and undemocratic act. Their attempt is to get the election postponed when the delimitation process had been completed, the number of councillors has been decided and the election was about to be announced. We would emphasize that if it is necessary we would take the people to the streets to defeat this move.
It has been found that 6 of the petitions filed in the Court of Appeal have been filed by persons connected to Mr. Maithripala Sirisena’s faction. If they had a genuine issue they had more than one year to go to Court from October last year. However, this is a scheme to postpone the election that expresses the democratic rights of the masses to solve the internal issues of their party. Such sordid acts would make such parties severely unpopular among the people. Already, certain sections that could not be united have come together as a result of this move. The JVP, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s faction, the UNP, the Election Commission, election monitors have come together against this move.
The internal issues of a political party should be solved within the party and not by denying people’s right to vote. The division in the SLFP would widen into a split when nominations for an election are presented. Then both factions would be defeated. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena’s faction is already announcing it publicly. Despite Mr. Maithripala Sirisena polling 6.2 anti-Mahinda votes in the presidential election, it would not be possible to hide his real voter base at the next election. At the last general election, it was not revealed as he contested with Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, at the next election getting exposed that he is a president without a mass base would be an issue for Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. We can never approve postponing elections to conceal such issues. According to information, a committee that includes Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dilan Perera and Lasantha Alagiyawanna has been appointed to have discussions to unite the two factions. The attempt now is to postpone the election until the discussions are completed. This may be why Minister S.B. Dissanayaka had said that election would be held in February.
The issue that came up regarding Ambagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha has been solved and President Maithripala Sirisena has no moral right to postpone the election. This cannot be allowed. It is the local government election that elects the grass-roots level of representatives of the masses. The JVP emphasizes that it would not allow anyone to postpone the election using various gimmicks.
In the recent history, the rulers in power have postponed or advanced the dates of the elections according to their wishes violating the constitution. Mr. J.R. Jayawardene held a referendum in December 1982 to postpone the general election that was due in 1983. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa held provincial council elections according to his wishes. Also, the general election and the presidential elections were held according to advice from astrologers. If the time was inauspicious the elections were postponed and if the astrologers say the time is auspicious the elections were held before the due time. This situation was rectified with the 19th amendment. The President cannot dissolve parliament until 4 ½ years in office.
The local government election that was to be held in March 2015 had been manipulated to be held according to an electoral process compiled by Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. That electoral system did not reflect the democratic rights of the people. It would bring in a bi-party system. Also, the Commissioner of Elections said there were about 80 technical errors in the proposed system. All parties got together and compiled a new system that did not have the battle for preferential votes, that elects a member responsible for the ward, that protects proportional representation and allows 25% women representation.
We warn that we would not allow anyone to come out with various gimmicks to postpone this election. If the President has fulfilled his election promises, his ministers have served the people satisfactorily he could win the election by explaining matters to the people. However, coming out with various manoeuvres to postpone the election all we could say is that he has already lost the election. Hence, if a situation arises that the voting rights of the people cannot be won in courts, the JVP would take to the streets with the people to win the democratic right for the people.