Lanka’s local body elections delayed due to lack of funds

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s election body said the local body polls scheduled to be held on April 25 have now been postponed indefinitely due to an acute shortage of funds. The Election Commission made the announcement a day after its officials held meetings with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and members of major political parties.

The Election Commission’s director general Saman Sri Ratnayake said that the next date for holding elections would be announced only after the Treasury confirms the disbursal of funds.

The local body polls, which were earlier scheduled on March 9, got postponed to April 25, due to a plethora of reasons linked to Sri Lanka’s current economic crisis. Last month, the Election Commission postponed the postal voting for the local body polls due to the paucity of funds.

In March, Sri Lanka government’s printer Gangani Liyanage said the inability to print ballot papers to conduct postal voting from February 21 to 24 caused the Election Commission to postpone the elections.

Liyanage said that by the time the elections were postponed, she had only received ₹ 40 million out of the estimated full cost of ₹ 500 million from the Treasury. The election to appoint new administrations to 340 local councils for a four-year term was postponed since March last year due to the ongoing economic crisis.

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