Minister of Constitutional Affairs D.E.W Gunasekera in Parliament speaking on the statement issued by the International Democratic Union (IDU) on the date of the next Presidential election yesterday said the Government never had the intention of postponing the Presidential election, and he was merely expressing his opinion when he said the next Presidential election should be held in 2006.
The Minister said the Supreme Court was the sole body which reserved the right to interpret the Constitution and its judgment on the disputed topic regarding the date of the next Presidential election should be accepted. ?When I said the Presidential elections should be held in 2006, I was simply voicing my interpretation of the Constitution. But this does not mean the Government can force the elections to be held next year? he said.
?Neither the Government nor the President can postpone elections. Only the Elections Commissioner and the Supreme Court have the authority to decide on the date. We are prepared for an election in 2005 or 2006?, he said.
The IDU which is headed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard issued a statement on July 18 accusing the government of trying to postpone the Presidential election which is scheduled for 2005 this year.
?This Statement issued by the International Democratic Forum is a direct interference on the government and also questions the sovereignty of the country?, he said. He said that through this statement the IDU had arrived at a preconceived conclusion that the government was forcing the elections to be held in 2005.
He also accused the UNP of towing a `Rightwing Christian Democratic Conservative` line for being a member of the IDU. He added the true agenda and stance of the UNP had been revealed in its alignment with IDU policies.