Sri Lanka postpones parliamentary polls over COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-19 19:32:54|Editor: xuxin
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COLOMBO, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said on Thursday that the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on April 25 will be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has left 52 people infected in the island country so far.

Deshapriya told reporters that it was impossible to conduct an election next month as public employees were not reporting to work and the environment was not conducive to hold the polls.

He said a fresh date to hold the elections will be notified only after the outbreak is brought under control.

"The COVID-19 will decide when we can hold the election again. We must eradicate this disease. I urge everyone to focus and support efforts to eradicate the virus," Deshapriya said.

Dissolving the parliament on March 2, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced April 25 as the date for parliamentary elections which will enable voters to elect a new 225-member unicameral legislature.

However following a rising number of COVID-19 cases, political parties urged the president to postpone the polls due to health concerns.

The president has banned public gatherings and urged Sri Lankans to avoid travelling and celebrations till the outbreak is brought under control.