Sri Lanka’s Election Commission Chairman Nimal G Punchihewa on Thursday said that the country cannot go for an election until the economic crisis that has hit the common man badly is addressed.
He said that if an election is held, it will be free and fair only if there is an environment to support that, the News First web portal reported.
Punchihewa said that although the commission currently has only Rs five billion in its kitty now, the amount will likely increase two to three times. However, he pointed out that money is not the issue, but there is a question whether those in queues for gas and kerosene can make a decision according to their conscience.
Therefore, he said that Sri Lanka will have to go for an election after the economic crisis is addressed.
“The people are emotional now. We don’t know how it will affect the outcome of the election. This may lead to various groups of thugs emerging apart from political parties, and it may create security issues at filling stations,” he was quoted as saying.
Punchihewa said that if an election is to be held now, it will be similar to the district elections in 1982 and the provincial elections in 1999, which is not needed at the moment.
Sri Lanka has been grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The economic crisis has created political unrest with protesters demanding President Rajapaksa’s resignation.
The economic crisis has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuel, toilet paper and even matches, with Sri Lankans for months being forced to wait in lines lasting hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas. PTI PMS AKJ PMS PMS