Sri Lanka to hold general elections on August 5

Parliament was dissolved on March 2

June 10, 2020 05:10 pm | Updated June 11, 2020 08:08 am IST - Colombo

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections, which was postponed twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on August 5, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said on Wednesday.

Also read: Sri Lanka holds mock poll to test COVID-19 guidelines for parliamentary election

The general polls, in which about 16 million people are eligible to vote, will be conducted as per health officials’ guidelines, according to election officials.

On March 2, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, using his executive powers, dissolved the Parliament, six months ahead of its full term and called for snap polls on April 25. However, as the threat of Covid-19 grew in the island, the Election Commission postponed the polls by nearly two months, to June 20. Meanwhile, opposition parties and civil society representatives petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the poll date, citing public health risks in holding polls during a pandemic. The apex court dismissed all petitions earlier this month after hearing preliminary submissions. By then, the Election Commission too told the court that it did not have sufficient time to prepare for the nation-wide polls.

Sri Lanka reported the first case of a local testing Covid-19 positive on March 10. As of Wednesday evening, the Health Promotion Bureau shows a tally of 1,859 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.

In the August 5 election, to be held across the island, a total of 196 legislators will be directly to the 225-member House, from the 25 districts. As many as 29 will be appointed from the National List, nominated by the parties based on their share of the national vote.

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