Sri Lanka Supreme Court shoots down statute amendment

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has insisted on a referendum in addition to a two-thirds majority to approve the 20th amendment, which sought to delay provincial council elections.

Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told parliament on Tuesday that a divided Supreme Court ruled that a referendum was also required to enact the proposed amendment.

The court’s 2-1 decision effectively shoots down what was better known as "20A", which sought to delay council elections in order to ensure that all nine councils go to the polls on a single day.

The previous government had been holding council elections on a staggered basis, which is usually favourable to the party in power.

The nine provincial councils had been elected at different times, with Uva and the South being the latest to be elected in 2014 for a five-year term.

As a result of the official announcement of the highest court’s decision, the independent Election Commission will be compelled to hold three provincial council elections – East, North-Central and Sabaragamuwa – this year.
The three councils will stand dissolved early next month and a vote could take place by early December.

Government sources said the administration was unlikely to go for a referendum, and instead may get ready to face elections.
(COLOMBO, Sept 19 2017)

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