Party leaders meeting next week to iron out delays to LG polls

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today in Parliament proposed to hold a Party Leaders’ Meeting next week to sort out remaining legislative issues and clear the path to hold the much delayed Local Government polls.

The Premier made this proposal when Joint Opposition (JO) Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena raised concerns over the possibility for LG polls to get delayed even beyond January due to fresh legislative issues that have cropped up.

MP Gunawardena pointed out that the relevant Gazette notification which was due this week to facilitate LG elections has been further postponed and that the Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry is to bring in another Amendment bill to the Local Authorities Ordinance to rectify the language discrepancies in the previous Amendment.

MP Gunawardena suggested a resolution must be made in Parliament to rectify the existing technical issues rather than presenting another Amendment.

“Nobody can challenge the validity of a Parliament resolution and therefore we can proceed swiftly and hold the LG elections,” he said.

However, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya pointed out that Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Musthapha does not agree to the proposal made seeking to move the resolution.

“Minister Faiszer Musthapha has consulted the AG and he has informed that an Amendment Bill is necessary for that purpose,” he said.

The Prime Minister said Minister Musthapha is to present the necessary Amendments at the next Cabinet meeting, due to be held on Tuesday and that a Party Leaders’ Meeting could be scheduled afterwards in order to come to an agreement.

“I will also consult the Attorney General’s opinion over the matter. The issue over Ambagamuwa and Kalmunei will also be included. LG polls will not be delayed any further,” the Prime Minister said.

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