The Chairman of the National Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, confirmed that a decision to postpone the general election was still not made despite the COVID-19 coronavirus threat in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Deshapriya stated this yesterday (March 16), following a meeting between the health officials and officials of the Election Commission (EC).
At least 28 people have contracted the coronavirus and earlier today, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne, said over 170 Sri Lankans from Italy and Korea have evaded the quarantine process.
Despite the troubles to contain the disease, the EC were told by health authorities that “there is no serious situation in the country to postpone the election.”
The nominations for the elections were still to be accepted today, tomorrow, and on Thursday. However, the EC urged to only send two individuals (the nominee and one other person) of political parties to enter the nomination hall and to avoid public gatherings and meetings in the vicinity of the nomination hall.
Deshapriya - concerned about the elections prompting political parties to publicly canvas, engage in meetings and encourage mass rallies and public gatherings - has urged them not to do so for the next 10 days.
Samagi Jana Balawegaya leader, Sajith Premadasa called out the government's decision to go ahead with the elections. “I make a very clear request, make the dissolution of Parliament null and void and let's have an election after the Coronavirus issue is sorted. Recall the dissolution. That can be done through a Gazette. Let’s do so and spend the money allocated for the election to fight the Coronavirus.” he said.
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to address the nation later today about the unsettling coronavirus crisis, according to the President’s office.