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Anura Kumara hails Unity Govt.

The Local Authorities Election System introduced under the Unity Government is the only one that considered the views of all parties in the political history of the country, Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake said in Parliament yesterday. He said that when an election system was introduced in the past they did it with a view to further remain in power.

He added that during the previous regime although the then Minister Athaulla presented the Bill, it was then Minister Bassil Rajapaksa who responded to all the issues queried by the members.

He made these observations joining the second reading debate on the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill.

MP Dissanayake said that the inability to hold the Local Authorities election had disrupted many development projects in the rural level as the Local Authorities had a close link with the ordinary life. He also urged the government to hold the local government election before the GCE Ordinary Level examination in December this year.

He also said the Local Government election could be held early this year only if the amendments to the Bill is passed before September 15 this year. He added that the Chairman of the Election Commission had stated that the local polls could be held before the Ordinary Level examination only if the amendments to local authorities bill is approved before September 15 this year. “Therefore the amendments should be approved this week,” MP Dissanayake said. “The Joint Opposition too is attempting to postpone the polls further by asking for more time to study the new amendments.”

MP Dissanayake said that JVP included some amendments to the Bill reducing the deposits to Rs 1,500.

“A political party will have to spend at least 25 million for deposits alone according to present form of the election,” MP Dissanayake said. “High women’s representation could be ensured only if the probability of election of women candidates in wards is increased.” He also said small parties that get one or two members elected to a local body should not be forced to nominate women candidates. He added that small parties should be made to appoint a woman member only if such party obtains three or more seats.