Sri Lanka’s largest Muslim Party the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has slammed the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka for issuing the gazette setting June 20 as the date for parliamentary elections, saying it was “unconstitutional and illegal”.
SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem and Party Secretary Nizam Kariapper PC delivered a strongly worded letter to the Elections Commission on Tuesday (21) expressing their deep regret over the date announced for elections.
The letter claimed that the Commission had invited political parties for a meeting on April 21 to discuss the election date, the Commission had gone ahead and gazetted the date of election as June 20 the night before the meeting. It was unconstitutional and illegal for the Commission to declare an election date during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The SLMC letter told the Elections Commission that the declaration of June 20, 2020 for parliamentary elections was a complete violation of Article 70 (3) of the constitution. The gazette by the Commission was unconstitutional and ultra-vires of the said article, the SLMC said.
The Commission had previously delayed the elections indefinitely owing to the prevailing pandemic then, and how on the contrary, they had hastily decided on a date, now, amidst the pandemic, contradicting its own stance.
The party explained that there would be no level playing field now that the country was under curfew and lockdown. Uncertainty prevailed over whether curfew would be completely lifted in some areas like in other areas, and if normalcy would return to some areas under surveillance for COVID-19, the letter said.
“Besides these areas (under surveillance),” the letter alleged, “were earmarked as those that did not vote n favour of the President at the last elections,”
The letter also drew the attention to the WHO’s new guidance issued to governments looking for exit strategies beyond existing lockdown measures dated 16th April 2020
On Tuesday the WHO made a public statement that “the worst was yet to come” with regard to COVID-19, urging countries to exercise caution in lifting restrictions on movement and daily life.
The SLMC letter also complained that in the current context there are already complaints that the government had politicised the handling and distribution of the essential and relief items to the public amid the pandemic.
The SLMC blamed the Commission for failing to question how a National Organiser of a political party has been made the head of a task force to deal with essential services during the pandemic. “These functions place the political party in government at a clear advantage over all others,” the letter noted.
The Commission which was strident in its enforcement of election laws during the period of the presidential election, specifically targeting the government in power at the time, has been silent as activists and opposition parties warn that the Government was politicizing COVID 19 relief distribution despite complaints lodged officially to the Commission by Grama Sevaka officers in writing.
“Being cognizant of these factors, including the prevalent risk to public health, it is patently clear that there cannot be a free and fair election ensured as mandated by the Constitution. Fixing a date of poll in an environment where the poll cannot be free and fair is also unconstitutional,” the letter claimed.
“In these circumstances, the SLMC registers its protest against the Commission’s mal conduct,” it said.
The party urged the Commission to review its decision and act in compliance with the Constitution and the law. They also claimed in the letter that the current context was not conducive to hold free and fair polls.
“We reiterate that the said fixing of the poll to be held on 20th June 2020 is unconstitutional and illegal. As a political party that represents vast number of voters we are saddened by the Commission’s act of not taking into consideration of the obvious current situation and the threat that poses to public health is not only unconscionable but also puts the entire population of our country at serious risk of being affected by the contagion. Therefore, we urge the Commission to review its decision and act in compliance with the Constitution and the law,” the statement said.
SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem and the Secretary Nizam Kariapper PC, were joined by the Senior Counsel and SLMC’s Head of International Affairs A M Faaiz and SLMC Deputy Chairman, former Provincial Councillor Naeemullah Masihudeen.(by Chamika Madiwake)
Sensitive SLANKEN / April 22, 2020
Dear Mr Hakeem,
we question what is constitutional /law bound today?
Why do the stupid people bring them back to power ?
1) Ration distribution is through their party men, as if the state funds are their own properties.
2) How can a leader have the termerity to speak that public – ? Gotabaya should start to go to kindergarten of POLITICs.
3). People were misled by MEDIA MAFIA run by DERANA, Hiru and other senders. They should be made accoutable for today s mess.
4) People s situation si like fall from FRYING pan to fire. :
Amarasiri / April 22, 2020
You must challenge and sue in the Supreme Court..
All have to deal with the China Virus, renamed COVID-19 virus by the China-Centric WHO, and further renamed the Muslim virus by the Racist Sinhala Buddhists. Please sue racist Sinhala Buddhists as well .
The US state of Missouri is suing the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus which it says has led to severe economic losses.
In the lawsuit, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges China did little to stop the spread of the virus.
Mr Schmitt claims Missouri residents have suffered possibly tens of billions of dollars in economic damages.
But legal experts doubt how far the state will get with the legal action, and the motivation behind it.
“In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real – thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” Mr Schmitt said in a statement.
Leelagemalli / April 23, 2020
Please listen to JVP leader Mr AKD, he explains it in plain sinhala as no other
hatharabirikatharina / April 23, 2020
JVP leader makes it very clear how UNCONSTITUTIONAL the president has been. This is why I thought to ask him to go to kinder garden.
Sirisena was a mad man number 01 – Nandasena is a mad man number II
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / April 22, 2020
SLMC fellows, whether it is constitutional or not, it is a master stroke which has stumped Rajapakse gang from acting unconstitutionally. According to the constitution, parliament has to be in place by 2nd of June. If that does not occur, there is crisis. When authority is refusing to see reason, in order to settle a problem you have to create a crisis, and that has been done. Your SLMC gave blind support to Mahinda to hijack the constitution which was fair to you and now you are talking about violating constitution. Fortunately there was no Muslim in the election commission to dance to the tune of Rajapakse gang. None of these so called lawyers of SLMC, were seen or heard when a fellow Muslim lawyer was arrested on charges of supporting terrorism. Chairman of EC cannot withdraw Gazette notification on his own, and Prof. Hoole is not going to allow it.
JD / April 22, 2020
JULIAN Asange was arrested by he was trying to be prosecuted for having consensual sex with a woman without any protection. I think Sri lanka should have those.
Ajay / April 22, 2020
Yes, this President is politicizing everything: the COVID virus, the lockdown, the curfew, the quarantine, the distribution of relief – you name it. What else can you expect in a political culture where even a Cobra that came from Nagaloka and sought refuge in a plastic bottle floating on the Kelani River was caught and shown to the public by a prominent TV station as working for GOTA’s election victory.
niro / April 22, 2020
A brilliant maneuver to restrict muslim representation in parliament. I don’t see Tamils and Catholics complaining.
Buddhist / April 22, 2020
When did this “Catholics” get into the ethnic group? Ethnic groups for political reasons did not even have Muslims. Only the religious groups have Catholics and Muslims, that too Catholics come under the general group of Christians. Just because Cardinal is creating another racist group under the name Catholics, it does not mean all Catholics are racists as the Cardinal.
Raj / April 22, 2020
In order to have a viable discussion you should have mentioned the specific section of the Constitution which you have alleged ‘unconstitutional and illegal’.
Moreover, it is the Yahapalana leaders (2015-2019) who created this so-called Independent Election Commission under 19A along with several other commissions. What has gone wrong with the first word now: ‘INDEPENDENT’? How can the people of Sri Lanka trust Diyawanna’s 225 who can not write even a few sentences that make sense to the world out there. Whenever, there is an issue the Constitution is not specific about it; not only that the people have to run to the Supreme Courts to know what to do next?
Is this a constitution or a letter written by the proverbial ‘Little lad’ (Podi Ekage Liyuma)?
K.A. Sumanasekera / April 22, 2020
I thought Hakeem is also a Gun Lawyer like the TNA’s Vellala Boy Abrham , who told the Prez in uncertain terms that it is all un Constitutional and the Prez will get rolled purely constitutionally of course I guess if , the Prez goes ahead and hold this Election…
But this Gun Lawyer is telling that Prez it is not only unconstitutional to call Elections through the EC of Course.
But Haleem is also harping about the SLMC not having a level playing field to contest the Election .
Because the supporters of the President are doing the distribution of Goodies to our Corona stricken Inhabitants who are living under fear of Cathing the Virus and putting up with a unnecessary Curfew as well.
I thought the whole Muslim community, specially the SLMC Community didn’t even cast one vote for Prez Nandasena.
What is the purpose of Hakeem demanding a level playing field now, when the UNP supporters and the Muslim Bros are all in one Union, to kick out the Prez by bringing in Dr Rani and his crooked Lot back to Kotte.
With the help of the TNA Abraham and his new client and mate RR as well..
Wonder whether Hakeem’s mate Bathudeen who is the Boss of that other Congress ,whom Hakeem grilled at the PSC will be the third Political Party Leader to threaten the Prez about this Constitutional thing with the Election?…
Mallaiyuran / April 22, 2020
Hakeem is useless person to talk about. Hakeem the world master artist went to tell UNHRC that it was in Old Royals government Muslims lived their happiest life. Hakeem, by getting all ministers with him and resigning from Yahapalanaya, forced the Sinhalese to unite and vote for King. He went to Saudi Arabia with his party and political mates to decide whether to support the coup 2018. He never talked about or wanted to file a case when a Paradesi War Criminal was standing for EP election. The whole world knows it was Royal family handling Mahinda Deshapriya. Why this man is swearing the arrow while the hunter is standing in from of him. Tricky Hakeem is the only one targeting the election commission. But it was Ratnajeevan who was risking his life to postpone at least up to May 20th. Now Hakeem has even forgotten to ask to reconvene the dismissed Parliament. I wonder why? Is that because when Hakeem takes his massive victory this time, he wants to ask for 20 ministers in from King?
Kusal / April 22, 2020
Why this Hakeem not been booked yet for seducing innocent Kumari, that poor soul ended her life and this cad roaming around freely!!! where is justice in this country???.
JD / April 22, 2020
I think Hakeem was scared that people would remind his CONNECTIONS with WAHABIS and EASTER ATTACK. So, PEOPLE DISCUSS ABOUT ELECTION AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND NOT ABOUT they getting to bed with ZAHARANs. What ever the election is HAKEEM and the gang came as NATIONAL LIST MPS. why should dance monkey dance about elections.
Sugandh Thomas / April 22, 2020
If the covid-19 situation in June turns out to be risky still, can’t EC postpone again?
Harsha Gunasena / April 22, 2020
“The SLMC letter told the Elections Commission that the declaration of June 20, 2020 for parliamentary elections was a complete violation of Article 70 (3) of the constitution. “
Article 70(3) is as follows.
“A Proclamation proroguing Parliament shall fix a date for the next session, not being more than two months after the date of the Proclamation : Provided that at any time while Parliament stands prorogued the President may by Proclamation – (i) summon Parliament for an earlier date, not being less than three days from the date of such Proclamation, or (ii) subject to the provisions of this Article, dissolve Parliament.”
Can CT or any one please explain how Article 70(3) is violated by the Act of EC.
Titus Rodrigo / April 22, 2020
The SLMC letter to the Elections Commission – “the declaration of June 20, 2020 for parliamentary elections was a complete violation of Article 70 (3) of the constitution.”
Nice try Hakim.
Trying to divert attention from the commemoration of bombings?
You cunning thief.
Saman / April 22, 2020
No one can change.
Most Sinhalese Buddhists and Yellow Robed men wanted to bring this dangerous man to power along with Rajapaksha family.
Sinhalese was, are and will be blind.
They can not see the true colour of this dictator.
As all know Sinhalese have no memory of the past. They have no vision.
This Rajapaksa family again started to steal the foreign borrowings, loans, and aids for they own sake.
This what Most Sinhalese wanted.
Eagle Eye / April 22, 2020
Sinhala Buddhists wanted to bring Gotabhaya Rajapakse to power not because he is a dangerous man but because he has a proven record as a strong man. He proved his capabilities by giving leadership along with his brother to eliminate Demala LTTE terrorist barbarians who slaughtered Native Sinhalayo for three decades claiming that they cannot be defeated militarily.
LTTE cadres and their sympathizers are shitting bricks after Gotabhaya became the President.
rbh / April 22, 2020
In these circumstances, Fear is existing Life are locked down and movement in fear A life lived in fear is a life half lived then how can a fare elction be with all in fear activities, there are many set to be done and handling to be carried out one another are distanced in this case They’ve each likely been touched by multiple people—the person who put your food or item in the package, the person who loaded it onto a truck, the person who hands you your bag or box, and so on. How careful should you be?
Buddhist / April 22, 2020
Election date is not unconstitutional, but continuing without a Parliament after June 2nd would be. Election date given by the EC is a technical knockout to power greedy Rajapakses and Pohottuwa.
Simon De Silva / April 23, 2020
See, how JVP leader explains it nicely.
Gotabaya has already violated the Constitution…. this is typical srilanka.