ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mujibur Rahuman has announced his resignation from parliament to contest the local government elections scheduled for March.
The MP told parliament on Friday January 20 that he would be stepping down to contest the election for the post of Colombo Mayor as decided by the SJB’s working committee.
“I ask this government that this democratic election and the country’s democratic rights be protected. People’s right to vote must be protected,” he said.
Rahuman urged the government to facilitate the timely conduct of the polls and allow the Election Commission to carry out its mandate.
The MP is followed by former MPs A H M Fowzi and Hirunika Premachandra in the SJB’s list of preferential votes at the 2020 parliamentary polls.
Though all political parties are busy placing cash deposits and submitting nominations, there is still some uncertainty over the conduct of the local government elections, which must be held before March 19.
A number of new alliances have been formed to contest the polls that will see over 8,000 members elected to 340 municipal councils, urban councils and pradeshiya sabhas around the island.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is reportedly not keen on on holding elections at this juncture, preferring instead to hold a presidential election at a later date once Sri Lanka has secured a widely anticipated International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Opposition parties continue to accuse the government of attempting to delay the election by resorting to various means.
The five-member Election Commission, meanwhile, has said it is undivided on the opinion that the polls must be held as scheduled, contrary to media reports.