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Sri Lanka may hold single-day polling for all 341 local councils in Feb

Sirisena faction of Sri Lanka Freedom Party accused of delaying election over fear of losing by faction led by former president

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

President of Sri Lanka
President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena

All 341 local councils of could have a single-day polling in February, the country's commission said on Friday.

The polls would be the first key test for the unity headed by President and Prime Minister which is embroiled in a bitter infighting over a range of issues.

The Sirisena faction of the Freedom Party has been accused of delaying the over the fear of losing by the faction led by former president

The 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 proposed an amendment to the Constitution to hold elections for all nine provincial councils on a single day.

The Supreme 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 to have a single-day polling after a group fighting against it withdrew its case.

"We are now in a position to have all 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.

First Published: Fri, December 01 2017. 21:16 IST