COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s Election Commission set Aug. 5 as the new date for parliamentary elections after postponing them twice over the coronavirus pandemic.
Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole said the date will give the sufficient time for preparations under health guidelines.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament in March. The first two election dates — April 25 and June 20 — were postponed as the Election Commission sought assurances from health authorities that would be safe to hold the vote.
Sri Lanka is facing constitutional uncertainties because it is past a three-month period allowed by law to operate without a sitting Parliament.
Last week the Supreme Court rejected petitions by opposition parties and civil activists seeking an annulment of Rajapaksa’s order dissolving Parliament.
Rajapaksa was elected last November and used his constitutional powers to dissolve Parliament six months ahead of schedule hoping to secure his party a majority of lawmakers. Although he would be allowed to reconvene the dissolved Parliament in an emergency, he refused to do so when the coronavirus made elections uncertain.
Sri Lanka says it has largely contained the spread of the coronavirus with 1,859 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.