President Maithripala Sirisena said that he hopes it will be possible to hold Local Governance elections under the new electoral system this year.The President made these comments at the closing ceremony of the March 12 Movement, which looked at creating a better political culture in the country, held at the BMICH today. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution marks a revolutionary change. Under the previous government the President retained the sole authority to appoint judges, Solicitor General, Inspector General of Police, Elections Commissioner.People voiced their concern against this and it paved the way for the 19th Amendment. However, after the new government came into power, steps were taken to re-appoint a delimitation committee. Regardless of various allegations and accusations this is a necessary initiative towards the political and social reforms of the country, he said. “Although earlier Local Governance elections were held according to the electoral system, the inaction of the Delimitation Committee has caused the present issues. The main reason to postpone the Local Governance elections is the inability to finalize the limitations of electorates independently and impartially,” President said. He said he considers this as a first step towards the transformation of the country and society.“With the 1978 Constitution individuals not political ideologies became prominent,” he said adding that the present Local Governance election system is a victory of the people.
Updated, 16:48CATHOLIC CARDINALS will begin their conclave to decide the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church next Tuesday, March 12.The decision to begin the conclave on Tuesday was made at a meeting of the 115 voting-age Cardinals this afternoon.The decision affirms the cardinals’ wishes to hold the conclave earlier than usual, in accordance in with one of the final acts of the previous pontiff.Church law previously dictated that the conclave had to begin 15 days after the papacy became vacant, but one of Benedict XVI’s last acts in office was to change this so that the conclave could be held earlier if all of the voting cardinals were already in Rome.Today’s vote follows days of meetings between cardinals which have actually doubled as informal pre-conclave talks on the problems of the church, and who might best address those problems if appointed to the papacy.Explainer: How is a new Pope chosen?Glossary: Some of the terms you’ll hear during the Papal election