New amendment to mixed electoral system

The newly introduced mixed electoral system for the Local Government bodies will undergo another Amendment shortly to make the First-Past-the-Post (FPP) representation 60 percent and Proportional Representation(PR) 40 percent.

Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Musthapha said the Government would present an Amendment Bill to the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance to this effect in Parliament next week.

“The minor parties were insisting to increase the allocation for proportional representation. Accordingly, the Government has now decided to bring down the FPP representation from 70 to 60 percent and increase the proportional representation from 30 to 40 percent,” the minister said.

The minister said the total number of LG councilors would be 8,542 as per the new Amendment. Out of that 1,400 would be female councilors. The number of candidates elected from the FPP will be 5,092. The Minister further said an amendment bill to provide for holding elections for all Provincial Councils on a single day would also be presented to Parliament shortly. “The Amendment received Cabinet approval. The practice of holding Provincial Council elections separately paves the way for misuse of public property and abuse of ruling power, thus distorting the people’s mandate. The Election watchdog bodies are also in agreement with this position. This is not an attempt to delay the elections,” he insisted. He said as per the draft amendment, a specific date would be fixed for holding the elections for all Provincial Councils.

“This date has to be decided collectively by Parliament. The resolution in this regard will be presented either by the Leader of the House or me on behalf of the Government,” he said.

The minister, observing that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has already received a large number of applications to contest for the upcoming LG elections, said the party would give priority to “educated and intelligent individuals with clean hands”.

“The new hybrid system sans preferential votes would help community leaders and individuals with clean hands to come to the fore. The people’s mandate was not properly reflected in the preferential vote system. Only the affluent could afford to enter the election fray. A change in electoral system is a timely need of the country,” Musthapha opined.

“We need new faces in our political landscape. The SLFP accepts this challenge. Teachers, engineers, doctors and community leaders are among those who have sent us applications for LG nominations,” the minister said. The minister said increasing the quota for women is a progressive move by the Government, adding that the studies have revealed that corruption is lower and efficiency is high in administrative bodies where women are in.

 

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