The report submitted by the three-member committee, appointed by the Hon. Minister of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government to review the Local Government Election system was taken into consideration at the Select Committee of Parliament to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments, on Thurday (02).
The summary of the review committee was presented by Mr. R.A.A.K. Ranawaka, Secretary to the Ministry of Lands and Land Development in his capacity as the committee Chair.
Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, a member of the National Delimitation Committee, said that the unusual growth in the number of members in local government bodies should be reduced to a fixed number as decided by the committee. He further said that 70% of the members in the local government bodies should be elected on a divisional basis and the remaining 30% on a proportional basis.
Prof. Sudantha Liyanage stating that the review committee recommends that the proportional representation system when choosing Members of Parliament be used in calculating the number of members in Local Government Institutions, also stated that the bonus seat system applied should also be applicable.
One of the weaknesses the committee observed in the current mixed proportional representation system was the failure to introduce any bonus seats for the winning parties. He added that the review committee hopes that the introduction of bonus seats will reduce the instability in local government bodies.
Members of the Review Committee was also of the view that in order for a political party or independent group to be eligible to represent local government bodies, such party or independent group must have 2.5% or more of the valid votes cast in the relevant local government area.
The Committee also pointed out that the manner in which members are to be elected for multi-member constituencies should be changed and the procedure prescribed in Act No. 22 of 2012 should be applied for that purpose. Former Secretary to the Ministry Jayalath Ravi Dissanayake has also been a member of this review committee.
The Hon. Leader of the House, Minister of Education Dinesh Gunawardena, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, said that the will of the people is to maintain local government bodies with a minimum number of seats. However, he pointed out that there must be a member responsible for a particular division.
The Attorney General’s Conclusive remarks regarding the Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017 were also tabled at this Parliamentary Select Committee.
Also, the “Report on Local Government Elections” submitted to the Committee by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was tabled.
Hon. Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, G. L. Peiris, Douglas Devananda, M.U. M. Ali Sabry, Hon. Members of Parliament Kabir Hashim, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, M. A. Sumanthiran, Mano Ganeshan, Madura Vithanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were present at this meeting held.
The next meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee is scheduled to be held on Monday (06), said the Secretary to the Select Committee, Deputy Secretary General & Chief of Staff of Parliament Ms. Kushani Rohanadheera. – Parliament
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill