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Friday June 25th, 2021
Politics

Sri Lanka’s provincial polls to be held under 70-30 PR system: state minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to hold the upcoming provincial council elections under a 70-30 proportional representation system, State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe said.

Speaking to reporters in Polonnaruwa yesterday, the State Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Government said that, under the proposed system, political parties can nominate three candidates per electorate.

“If there is just one candidate for a given electorate, and that candidate happens to have a bad reputation among the public, there is a chance that voters might boycott or abstain, which will be disadvantageous to the party promoting that candidate,” said Ranasinghe.

“The voters expect a member that is accountable to their electorate. Under our proposed system, people can vote for a specific candidate they prefer out of the three nominated,” he added.

A date has yet to be announced for Sri Lanka’s long-delayed provincial council polls.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said last month that the PC polls must be held soon either under the previous Provincial Councils Elections Act or under the proposed new (Amendment) Act with its “complications” removed.

The president’s office quoted him as saying the Amended Provincial Councils Act which included a new delimitation of the constituencies, a quota for women candidates and other changes “had been defeated by the former government which proposed it.”

Sri Lanka’s supreme court determined that the PC polls can be held under either the old or new system but upon the amending legislation being passed. The Rajapaksa government has yet to pass amendments to the (Amendment) Act to conduct the elections under the previous proportional representation system.

All nine provinces in Sri Lanka are currently being run by their respective governors following the end of their five-year terms at various points. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has also called for the early conduct of polls, a sentiment echoed by India. The provincial councils are a legacy of the Indo-Lanka accord signed in 1987. (Colombo/Apr13/2021)

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