Elections will provide an opportunity for the people to express their sentiments about the government
Protestors hold placards as they take part in an anti-government demonstration in Colombo on Sept. 25. (Photo by AFP)
Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has urged the nation’s Election Commission to hold the local government elections in March 2023
“It is our right. People can answer the government through their votes,” Cardinal Ranjith said at the Sacred Heart Church in Ragama, a suburb of Colombo, on Sep. 26.
He said the elections will provide an opportunity for the people to express their sentiments regarding the government.
The cardinal alluded to the nation’s worsening economic crisis, saying the middle classes were becoming poor by the day. People have no access to food and were struggling in their daily lives, he added.
“Several priests informed me that children coming to Sunday school need to be fed first. If not, they will faint. How can they learn?” Cardinal Ranjith added.
The elections were scheduled to be held in March 2021 but were postponed due to the crisis situation in the country.
Political analysts apprehend that the government may not hold the elections next year.
A group of Opposition parliamentarians, including Ranjith Maddumabandara, secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, submitted a letter to the Election Commission requesting that the local government elections should be held as soon as possible.
Nimal Punchihewa, chairman of the Election Commission conceded recently that the country's election process is corrupt and weak.
Even though his statement may be controversial, it had to be said, he added.
Karu Jayasuriya, former Parliament speaker said that government must immediately pay attention to the signs of political and economic deterioration in the country.
He said the better-off Sri Lankans with the financial means to move away were leaving the country in droves.
“More than 500 doctors have left the country in the last eight months, and so were engineers. We are losing future national resources of the country,” Jayasuriya said.
Those left behind, especially the poor classes, were left behind to suffer the consequences.
Niroshani Sumudu, a Catholic teacher said that many school children do not bring their breakfast or lunch anymore.
"The price of an egg is around 50 rupees, the price of fish, chicken and vegetables are very high. Therefore, parents cannot afford to provide nutritious meals for children," she said.
UNICEF has said that over 5.7 million people, including 2.3 million children, require urgent humanitarian assistance in the country.
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