The government is, in consultation with political parties, exploring the possibility of holding both parliamentary and presidential polls on the same day, says Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne.
“Conducting local, provincial , parliamentary and presidential elections on separate days had resulted in a waste of valuable financial resources and also caused declining interest amongÂ the voters,” Senaratne said on Friday, adding thatÂ there had been a positive response from many political parties to the governments proposal.
Local authorities have, sinceÂ July last year, been run by Special Commissioners or District Secretaries.
Terms of the Â Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial CouncilsÂ willÂ expire between Sept. 6 and Oct.1, this year.
The Central, Northern and North Western Provincial Councils would complete their terms in September of 2018. Polls to the Â Western and Southern Provincial Councils are due in March of 2019 and Uva Provincial Council in September 2019.
The governmentÂ announced recently that it had gazetted the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution, approved by the CabinetÂ of Ministers. Parliament, it said, would determine the date on which all Provincial Councils were to be dissolved.
Senaratne said there were two options. Elections to all provincial councils could be held Â by early next year or after all the Councils had completed their terms in Sept. 2019. “The most feasible option considering the demandsÂ of some sections of the Opposition would be to conduct all the localÂ and provincial polls early next yearÂ and on a single day, as agreed on by the Cabinet of Ministers recently.”
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said a decision would be taken in consultation and agreement with all the Provincial Councils.
Senaratne said that all political parties including the JVP wanted a new Constitution. The only exception was the faction of the UPFA led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.