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Swearing at Sri Lanka’s election chief

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s elections chief Mahinda Deshapriya has been hailed by independent monitors and the media as the "man of the match" in Monday’s parliamentary elections, but the delay in concluding the vote is causing anxiety.

A planned swearing-in of the prime minister on Thursday had to be put off because Deshapriya is yet to issue a gazette notification declaring a formal conclusion of the election with the gazetting of all elected MPs.

However, a legal snag over the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) national list is at the root of the delay.

"There won’t be a swearing-in tomorrow as we planned, but a lot of elected representatives will be swearing (at the commissioner) over the undue delay," a ruling party MP told EconomyNext.

The Colombo district court has issued an enjoining order preventing sacked secretary general of the party, Susil Premajayantha, exercising powers of the position he held earlier.

However, as far as Elections Commissioner’s records go, Premajayantha is still the secretary of the UPFA and he is yet to make an announcement if he will recognise President Maithripala Sirisena’s new appointee, Professor Wiswa Warnapala.

Legally, Deshapriya is bound to respect the Colombo district court order, but it is unclear if he can recognise the new appointee named by Sirisena as president of the UPFA.

The upshot of the legal debate is the holding up of the conclusion of the election that has caused lot of anxiety among elected representatives on both sides of the political divide.  (Colombo/August 19 2015)

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