The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said the Election Commission (EC) should have adapted to challenges posed by COVID-19 and continued its operations to prepare to hold the General Election as soon as patient numbers were brought under control. Speaking to media at the SLPP Head Office, former Parliamentarian D.V Chanaka said in their view the commission has shown a lack of preparedness to hold the election amidst COVID-19 mitigation measures, insisting that was the responsibility of the commission.
“Health experts say that we might have to live with COVID-19 for a few more years, therefore they advise to take precautionary measures and continue daily life. However, the EC does the opposite of that and they do not want to continue their duty, which is to hold elections on time,” he charged.
Chanaka noted other State and private institutes had restarted their operations following the Government’s decision to lift the curfew imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While pointing out that, Chanaka argued the EC should have also done the same and continued to prepare for the election to protect democratic rights of citizens.
“Other State institutions did not ask time to prepare, especially health officials, Sathosa and even the military. Even health officials and the military did not have any experience to face these challenges. However, they found ways to overcome this challenge. Imagine if health experts or the military requested time to respond? Then the situation could have been devastating,” he argued.
The former parliamentarian raised concerns about the EC possibly postponing elections further. He charged the EC was not preparing to hold the election even though it gave the date of 20 June.
“If the commission genuinely wanted to hold the election on 20 June, they could have allocated preferential numbers, and prepared ballot papers despite the COVID-19 outbreak. However the commission did not do that, which indicates the EC did not want to hold the election on time,” he charged.