Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake has requested divisional secretaries (returning officers) of the north and east to report back to him on the practicality of holding local government elections as scheduled in the North and east on April 23rd 2005.
Commissioner Dissanayake made the request after he had convened a meeting of the respective returning officers from the north and east last Saturday at the Elections Secretariat at Welikade Rajagiriya to discuss the ground realities in the two provinces.
Deputy Commissioner of Local Government and Provincial Council Elections W. P. Sumanasiri yesterday confirmed that the local government elections to 53 local bodies in the north and east were scheduled to be held on April 23rd 2005.
The elections that were initially to be held in 2002 were postponed several times as a result of the ground situation not being conducive to hold elections and pressure from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians.
The elections were last postponed on October 23rd 2004 and scheduled for April 23rd 2005.
TNA parliamentarian for the Jaffna district and ACTC Secretary General Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said that before any elections were held in the north and east, the government should give priority to creating the joint structure for the post tsunami recovery process. And secondly the government must create an interim administration to rehabilitate reconstruct and redevelop the Northeast that had been damaged and distracted as a result of two decade long conflict.
These realities have to be understood and the necessary structures have to be created before talking of any elections in the north and east, he said.