Dec 18, Colombo: The much anticipated elections for 341 local government bodies in Sri Lanka will be held on 10 February, the Election Commission announced today.
"The election for all 341 councils will be held on February 10, 2018," Chairman of the independent Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya told media today at a press briefing.
The gazette notification announcing the elections will be issued on the 26th of this month.
Deshapriya said the Commission unanimously decided to hold the elections on February 10th after lengthy discussions on the possible dates.
The Chairman noted that the date will be gazetted only on the December 26 due to technical concerns. If the gazette in this regard is issued on December 22 or 23, the election should be held on February 8, as the election should be held within 49 days of issue of the gazette, Deshapriya said.
The Election Chief stressed that political parades will be strictly prohibited from today across the island. Strict legal action will be taken against anyone who makes statements inciting racial, religious and regional divisions.
The Chairman further said that all actions regarding the nominations have been taken according to the law and anyone can seek redress from courts against the rejection of nominations.
Accepting nominations in the first stage for 93 local government bodies ended last Thursday (14). Accepting nominations in the second stage for 248 local government bodies commenced today and will continue until 12noon on 21 December.
This will be the first time that local government elections will be held under the new mixed electoral voting system eliminating the preferential voting. The government enacted law make it binding on all political parties and independent groups to field at least 25 percent female candidates in local elections.
Under the amendment to the Local Authorities Elections Act, the number of local government bodies increased from 336 to 341 while the number of councilors will increase from 4,486 to 8,356.