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Basil insists on holding PC elections soon

The Select Committee of Parliament to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments decided to make the required legal amendments to hold the Provincial Council Elections as soon as possible.

The Committee met on the 8th of October under the chairmanship of the Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena.

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa pointed out that many issues have arisen due to the inactivity of the Provincial Councils.

“Numerous problems have arisen due to the inactivity of the Provincial Councils for the last 3 years. It is not acceptable for one person to control the Provincial Councils. Currently, the local Government bodies and Parliament are in an active state, while the Provincial Councils remain inactive. The Provincial Council elections must be held soon,” stated Rajapaksa.

Meanwhile, the committee members pointed out that in the current situation, a decision should be made to hold the Provincial Council elections under the old electoral system.

Gunawardena additionally stated that it would be appropriate to present the necessary legal amendments to Parliament in January 2022 in order to hold the Provincial Council elections.

The need to have a fair representation of women contesting at the elections was also discussed during the meeting.

“The majority opinion is that a mixed electoral system is suitable for the country. Many political parties as well as independent groups that testified at the committee are of the same opinion,” stated Gunawardena

The expert committee appointed to analyze proposals submitted to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System also submitted its proposals to the Parliamentary Select Committee.

Committee Chairman and Vice Chancellor of Sri Jayawardenapura University Prof. Sudantha Liyanage spoke on behalf of the committee and pointed out that the general public opinion was that the number of seats in local government bodies should be reduced. He went on to say that it was not practical to reduce the number of divisions, but the number of seats should be reduced from the proportional representation.

He also went on to say that some members of the expert committee agreed that the number of seats should be reduced from both the divisional and proportional representation, and advised to maintain the female proportion at 25%.

Prof. Liyanage emphasised that Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections should be held under the same electoral system, and advised to keep the existing 225 seats in Parliament. He stressed that a proper procedure should be implemented for the appointment of members of Parliament from the National List.

In attendance at the meeting were officials from the Attorney General’s office, Delimitation Commission, Ministers Nimal Siripala De Silva, Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, MP’s Ranjioth Madduma Bandara, Anura Dissanayake, Mano Ganeshan, M.A Sumanthiran, Madura Vithanage and Sagara Kariyawasam.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held on the 22nd of October as confirmed by the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy secretary General and Chief of Staff of Parliament Ms Kushani Rohanadheera.