The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) suggests that it would be appropriate to hold the Provincial Council elections expeditiously, under the former election system, at least limited to this particular election alone. The suggestion was made at the Select Committee of Parliament to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments held yesterday (2).
State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara who testifying on behalf of the party at the committee stated that many problems have risen due to postponing of the provincial council elections for a long time. He stated that his party was of the view that the provincial council elections should be held immediately. Furthermore, local government elections should be held in the first quarter of next year. The number of local government representatives should be limited to a maximum of 5500, he said.
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera stated at the committee that it is not appropriate to extend the term of local government bodies. The Hon. Minister also pointed out that the public opinion is that the number of seats in local government bodies should be reduced.
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva explained that after the announcement of the Local Government Elections, the powers of those institutions should be transferred to a commissioner until the election is held and the new members are sworn in.
The Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated that the Attorney General is of the view that the Provincial Council elections cannot be held under the existing law and that the necessary legal provisions should be brought for the purpose of the stated. He also stated that the general opinion of the Committee is that the Provincial Council elections should be held expeditiously.
The SLFP proposed to the committee that the number of members to be elected from the divisions should be 60 percent and the number of members to be elected proportionally should be 40 percent when the electoral system is amended.
Necessary legal provisions should be made to limit election expenses. H.E the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presentation of a Cabinet Memorandum on Limiting Election Expenditure is commendable. The party also said that women's representation at all levels should be 25 percent of the total number of candidates.
Furthermore, the conduct of media during election period should be regulated. The SLFP also emphasized the importance of regulating social media behavior.
Professor Sudantha Liyanage, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Chairman of the Expert Committee on the analysis of appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments stated if the new electoral system is adjusted to the 70:30 ratio, the existing number of seats in local government bodies could be reduced by 1,500.
He also pointed out the need to revise the electoral system so that the winning political party in the local government area gets two bonus seats.
The Secretary to the Select Committee, Deputy Secretary General & Chief of Staff of Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera stated that the next meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee will be held on the 7th.
State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Duminda Dissanayake also represented the SLFP at the committee meeting. Members of Parliament M. A. Sumanthiran, Madhura Withanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were also present as members of the Committee.
Officials representing the Election Commission and the Attorney General's Department were also present.