ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should avoid the Local Government polls and put more effort in to carry on necessary reforms and bring the country to a stable state, State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage said.
Most of the ruling coalition members as well as President Ranil Wickremesinghe are not in favour of elections amid speculations over possible defeat which could hit the ongoing reform process.
“Nobody in the World would go for an election at a time like this. Who really wants an election in the country when the general public has not asked for an election?,” Gamage told the parliament on Thursday.
“Does the general public need an election right now, when the country is undergoing a massive economic crisis and when we can’t give any relief to these people”.
The opposition is worried that the election spending bill passed on Thursday could be used to delay the Local Government polls.
The Bill seeks to regulate election campaign financing.
Since being elected as the President through the parliament vote, Wickremesinghe has raised taxes and announced some reforms including slashing government spending. The moves have already hit the average household amid over 57 percent inflation.
Sources close to Wickremesinghe have said the President has not been in favour of “any elections” this year as the tough reforms are expected to be implemented along with a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.
Many political analysts see a possible defeat to both Wickremesinghe’s center-right United National Party (UNP) and ruling nationalist Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Such defeat could slow the reforms and IMF loan, they say.
Questioning the development done by Local Governments bodies in the past five years, Gamage said the state will lose another 12.6 billion rupees for the election and salaries. (Colombo/ Jan 19/2023)