No referendum, polls on schedule - Govt.

= PC election dates might be advanced

= JVP insists govt. attempting to fool the people

By Ravi Ladduwahetty

The government had no plans to hold a referendum in lieu of the 2015 parliamentary elections, government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambuwella told The Island yesterday.

He said so when he was asked to comment on speculation, in political circles following Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena’s call for a referendum, that the government was mulling over such a move.

The government would adhere to the democratic process and no election would be replaced by a referendum, the minister said.

The people might have preferred a referendum instead of an election given the popularity of the government and with no credible opposition candidate in sight to provide a true challenge to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government, Minister Rambukwella said.

Deputy Minister Abeygoonewardena was not available for comment as he was overseas.

Rambukwella said that the government might dissolve the remaining provincial councils ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, JVP Propaganda Secretary and Gampaha District MP Vijitha Herath insisted that the government was attempting to deceive the people the way it duped them as regards the impeachment of former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Initially, the government had kept on saying that it would not impeach the CJ but it had done exactly the opposite of what it tod the public, Hearth said.

Herath said that it was the JVP which pointed out on October 28, 2012, that the government was in the process of impeaching Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, which Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva had vehemently denied. "Then we pointed out that the government was to present a National Action Plan to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which Minister de Silva denied and Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the JVP was having day dreams, but that too happened when External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris handed over the National Action Plan to the UNHRC, MP Herath said

The government was attempting to dupe the people again, as it could hold the referendum anytime before the parliamentary polls due in 2015, Hearth said.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, when contacted, confirmed that the Presidential polls were due in 2016 and Parliamentary in 2015.

He said that the elections to the Western Central, North-Western and Uva provinces were all due in 2014 and he was ready to hold the elections as and when the government was ready to dissolve the councils.

The first of the five provincial council elections would be held in the Western and Central Provinces in Feb. 2014, the Polls Chief said.

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