Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammanpila wants the government to resume payment of salaries of public sector employees who are on no-pay leave to contest the local government polls, if the election is put off.

The government should obtain approval through a cabinet decision, or else, it would be taken to court, he said at a media briefing today (22).

“How can these candidates do without their salary at a time when living is difficulty even with a salary?” he asked.

Gammanpila also said that it was pointless to blame state sector officials over a postponement of the LG polls, since they are bound by law to follow circulars and cabinet decisions.

It is the politicians led by the president who should be dealt with for taking the political decision to postpone the election, he said.


Nov. 18 presidential election not possible


The MP refuted claims by some that president Ranil Wickremesinghe was delaying the LG polls with the intention of announcing a presidential election on November 18.

As per clause 31(3a)(a) of the constitution, an elected president could do so upon completion of four years in office, but sub-clause (5) prevents an appointed successor from doing so, said Gammanpila.

Four ways of finding money for election

Referring to claims that there was no money to hold the LP polls, he proposed four ways of finding the Rs. nine billion required.

One is to set aside Rs. 150 million, or one per cent, of the government’s daily expenditure of Rs. 15 billion, and in 60 days the needed money will be there, he said.

Or, it can print money, even which is good for the government’s health, as the people will have a way, at an election, of venting their anger against it, rather than letting them do it in a violent manner, he said.

Countries and organizations that provide aid in support of democracy could be tapped to obtain the money, which is 24 million in US dollar terms.

Also, the money required could be collected via an election fund from the people themselves, at the rate of Rs. 562 per voter.

Gammanpila said that he described only four, but that there could be many more ways of finding the money, adding that what is lacking is not money, but the will to hold the election.



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