Fresh demands to amend Local Authorities Bill will further delay Local Government Elections: PM

 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pointed out the fresh demand by the Joint Opposition to once again amend the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance would further delay the long awaited Local Government Elections.

The Premier was responding to a question by JO MP Dullas Allahapperuma in Parliament today. 

The Prime Minister, observing that the space to hold the LG elections by the end of December or early January has been created, stated that bringing in more amendments at this stage would cause further delays in holding the elections.

“The new electoral system may not be perfect. Let us experiment it at the LG polls. Then we can study its loopholes and bring in more amendments as necessary. That was the agreement of the House. Most of the issues raised now have been debated prior to passage of the Bill. It is up to the Party Leaders to discuss and decide whether to bring in more amendments or to go for elections as soon as possible,” the Premier explained.

MP Allahapperuma, taking his turn at the PM’s question round, stated several new problems have cropped up due to certain Amendments incorporated at the third reading of the Bill. 

He insisted that disqualifying a selected category of public servants (field officers) from contesting at elections and applying this law retrospectively are a violation of fundamental rights of those public servants. He also objected to the removal of 30 percent quota to the youth. He also complained against the removal of bonus seats and cut off marks and the removal of the provision to hold by-elections.

The Premier, replying to these concerns, said many proposals came up with regard to the bonus seats, adding that the final agreement was to test the new system sans bonus seats at the LG polls and then take a final decision.  

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