Sri Lankan presidential polls to be held between 15 November and 7 December; Maithripala Sirisena’s term to end in January 2020

The presidential elections in Sri Lanka would be held between 15 November and 7 December, one month before the end of the current president's term, as per constitutional provisions

Press Trust of India June 02, 2019 23:16:40 IST
Sri Lankan presidential polls to be held between 15 November and 7 December; Maithripala Sirisena’s term to end in January 2020
  • The presidential elections in Sri Lanka would be held between 15 November and 7 December

  • President Sirisena's five-year term is scheduled to end on 8 January, 2020

  • Sirisena was elected for a 5 year-term on 8 January, 2015 when he challenged the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo: The presidential elections in Sri Lanka would be held between 15 November and 7 December, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has said, clarifying that according to constitutional provisions the polls must be held one month before the end of the current president's term.

Deshapriya's clarification on the constitutional provisions regarding the date for the next presidential elections came after President Maithripala Sirisena told reporters last week in New Delhi that the presidential polls is likely to take place on 7 December.

Sri Lankan presidential polls to be held between 15 November and 7 December Maithripala Sirisenas term to end in January 2020

File photo of Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena. AFP

President Sirisena's five-year term is scheduled to end on 8 January, 2020. "The election must be held one month before the end of the current president's term," Deshapriya said, addressing the Voters' Day events held at the south Colombo suburb of Moratuwa Saturday.

"The nearest date the election can be held is 15 November as the 10 November is a Sunday and 12 November is a Poya Day (a Buddhist holy day). 7 December is the furthest day the election can be held," Deshapriya said, adding the Election Commission would be permitted to hold the election on any day between 15 November and 7 December.

Sirisena was elected for a 5 year-term on 8 January, 2015 when he challenged the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. The former strongman had called snap elections two years ahead of the end of his second term. Sirisena backed by the then main Opposition United National Party (UNP) became the common Opposition candidate against his former boss Rajapaksa.

Although Sirisena has not so far declared his intention for a re-run, his souring of relationship with the UNP of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has indicated that the UNP would be fielding its own candidate.

Sirisena in October last year sacked Wickremesinghe, who elevated him to the presidency, and replaced him with Rajapaksa. The move led to a constitutional impasse which lasted over 50 days. After the intervention by the Supreme Court court, Wickremesinghe was restored as the prime minister.

Sirisena speaking to reporters in New Delhi after attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony said he had not decided on seeking another term in the election that is due by year-end.

"I am not in a hurry to decide whether to stand," Sirisena said. Sirisena has faced criticism over his leadership after a series of suicide bombings killed 258 people in the island nation on 21 April.

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