Extra Time

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Monday asked the elections chief to hold back on announcing the date of presidential polls pending a ruling on when the term of incumbent Chandrika Kumaratunga ends. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Monday asked the elections chief to hold back on announcing the date of presidential polls pending a ruling on when the term of incumbent Chandrika Kumaratunga ends. Kumaratunga and the opposition have argued about whether her current, final term ends in December this year or at the end of next year, a controversy on which the Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday.

The court’s chief justice Sarath Silva on Monday asked elections commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake not to make a ruling on the controversial polls timetable before the highest court gives its final ruling.

“It is a request, not an order,” the chief justice said in court.

Kumaratunga called a snap poll a year early in late 1999 and won a second six-year term which would end this December — but she has argued that the left-over year from her first term should take her through to late 2006.

The main opposition United National Party insist the election must be held in December this year, a p