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All 341 local councils of Sri Lanka could have a single-day polling in February, the country's election commission said on Friday. The polls would be the first key test for the unity government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe which is embroiled in a bitter infighting over a range of issues. The Sirisena faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has been accused of delaying the election over the fear of losing by the faction led by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The government had postponed the elections for 341 local councils in the island nation since 2015 for electoral reforms. In order to postpone the polls by a year, the government proposed an amendment to the Constitution to hold elections for all nine provincial councils on a single day. The Supreme Court in September ruled that the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution to hold council elections on a single day requires two-third parliamentary majority and a nationwide referendum. But the government finally managed to get all 341 local councils of Sri Lanka to have a single-day polling after a group fighting against it withdrew its case. "We are now in a position to have all election in one day," Mahinda Deshapriya, the Chief of the independent Elections Commission said today. Deshapriya said he believes that the local election could now be held in February.
This will be the first polls test for the unity government as they have been postponing elections since 2015. The allies have been having clashing over economic policy and on investigations into corruption under the regime of former president Rajapaksa, who is also from the SLFP. Sirisena's SLFP and Wickremesinghe's United National Party have a coalition government but contest the election separately. The president's own party is split between him. The SLFP is reportedly in talks with the Rajapaksa camp to unify in order to defeat the UNP.