The feasibility of holding the general and the much delayed provincial council elections together is currently under consideration by the Election Commission.
Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, speaking to the Sunday Observer, said, “There is a proposal to hold both elections on a single day. But a final decision is yet to be reached.”
The Chairman said the Commission is looking into the practical difficulties that may come up when holding both elections together, during the campaigning, polling and counting process.
He said political parties and independent groups who will be contesting as joint fronts at the General Election might contest the Provincial Council election independently. That could lead to issues and confusions when holding both elections together.
“The saving on election expenditure will not be as big as one would expect it to be,” he added pointing out that the polls staff need to be doubled and printing of election material done as usual.
“However, a plus point is that the voters can finish it off in one day and the effects on the country’s economy can thus be minimized,” he said.
Savings are expected on security related costs and expenditures on removing illegal campaign material.
Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said they would support such a move as a means of cost cutting and saving time.
“I don’t know the legalities behind holding two main elections together but the SLFP as a political party we will support such a decision if the Election Commission approves it,” he said adding that he personally thought it was a good move to save time wasted on elections.