Polls at this juncture is a new experience for the SriLankan voters!

Time to get Ballot Boxes ready again for polls!

Today, in Sri Lanka all political parties interest has turned to the 2020 General Elections, that was postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic to June 20. In this scenario, it is likely that the 2020 General Election would get postponed yet again by the Election Commission, probably to August. As there are many constitutional issues needing clarification by the courts.

In any case, it will be a new situation for people of the country, such as having to maintain social distancing at the polls, as requested by the health authorities if the elections are to be held at present.

Besides, it may be necessary to hold elections in a staggered manner, done many times before in the county, before and after independence.

In the pre independence era, it happened first at the 1931 General Election for the first State Council took seven days and the second situation occurred during the second General Election for the State Council took eleven days in 1936.

Whereas, after independence the 1947 General Election for the first Parliament was the third occasion that took 19 days, while fourth occurrence was the 1952 General Election for the second Parliament that took four days and the fifth or last occasion was the 1956 General Election for the third Parliament that took three days. However, it would certainly increase the cost of holding elections, something country can ill afford at this point.

Another new situation is with radio, television and social media available today, the Election Commission may use its special powers to make necessary arrangements to allow candidates to solicit votes using these media, in place of the popular massive rallies, pocket meetings and door-to-door solicitation of votes known to present generation of voters in the country.

In this scenario, the Elections Commission was strongly criticised as partisan by a main political party and threatened to take action against some of its members when the new Parliament is convened. This is taking place at a time the people in the country are slowly coming out of shutdown phase and move slowly a post COVID-19 pandemic phase.