Sri Lankan election commission to announce presidential poll date by July end

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Colombo, Jul 7 (PTI) Sri Lanka's election commission on Sunday said that it will announce the date for the next presidential poll before the end of this month.

Election Commission Chairman R M A L Ratnayake said the electoral body would be legally empowered after July 17 to announce the date for the election.

The Election Commission in May said the presidential election would be conducted between September 17 and October 16.

Ratnayake said the commission is currently in the process of putting final touches to the 2024 electoral register which will be the basis for the election. Over 17 million would be eligible to vote in the election as per the revised list, officials said.

His comments came ahead of a court case scheduled for Monday on holding the election.

Last week, an individual filed a fundamental rights petition urging the court to hold back the election until a clarification could be made on an ambiguity in the presidential term about articles 30(2) and 82 in the constitution.

The case is to be taken up on Monday by a five-member Supreme Court bench.

While the 30(2) had limited the presidential term to five years from six in terms of the 19th amendment adopted in 2015, no referendum was held to change the 82nd which says that a presidential term could be extended up to six years through a referendum. The petitioner, therefore, asked for clarity on the term duration.

The opposition has accused incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe of trying to postpone the election and continue his presidency for fear of losing.

Wickremesinghe confirmed last week that the election would be held as planned. PTI CORR PY PY PY