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Sri Lanka’s election commission to decide on parties named along ethnoreligious lines

Voters lining up at a polling booth for the August 2020 parliamentary polls

ECONOMYNEXT – The Election Commission (EC) of Sri Lanka has appointed a five-member committee to study registered political parties that have been named along ethnic or religious lines, the commission said.

The committee, headed by an Additional Election Commissioner, will study the constitutions of such parties and submit a report to the EC, based on which the EC will decide whether or not to recognise them as registered parties.

The EC decided to appoint this committee on Tuesday (30) with a view to allowing only national parties to be registered with the commission, the statement said.

It is not clear at present what this decision will entail for parties and alliances such as the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, the Tamil National Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. Spokespersons for these parties could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

The election commission has also appointed the Director-General of Elections, the secretary and a member of the commission to oversee the five-member committee.

In a separate development, the commission has identified four political parties which have not submitted their audited financial statements for the year 2019. The EC did not divulge the names of the parties in its statement.

The statement said that if the four political parties fail to submit their audited financial statements by April 22, the parties will no longer be recognised as registered political parties in Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Apr02/2021)

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