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Friday August 19th, 2022

Women nominees: Poor showing from major parties in run-up to Sri Lanka’s polls

ECONOMYNEXT – Since Sri Lanka produced the first-ever woman Prime Minister of the world in 1960 with Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s landslide victory, and one the world’s first women Presidents representation in Sri Lankan politics has taken a hit, to say the least.

With nominations being concluded for the upcoming parliamentary election, questions have been raised as to whether women are adequately represented in the nomination lists of major parties vying for power. As of now, the cabinet in operation led by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa only has one female minister among 15 men.

In the eighth Sri Lankan parliament from 2015-2020, only 5.7% of members were female. Trends prove to be rather disappointing in the upcoming election as well, with less than the optimal number of females being nominated.

From the Colombo electoral district, the United National Party (UNP) leads the way in female representations with three women out of 22 nominees; namely, Sunethra Ranasinghe, Chandima Wijegunawardena and Ajantha Perera.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led Jathika Jana Balavegaya or National People’s Power (NPP) nominated two women out of 22 nominations for Colombo, deeming Samanmalee Gurusinghe and Niroopa Serasinghe eligible to contest.

However, there seems to be lamentable progress within the ruling party and the anticipated opposition.

The Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP)led by Rajapaksa and the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) led by Sajith Premadasa both nominated just one female each from the Colombo electoral district: Kariyawasam Haputhanthri Gamage Kanthi Kodikara and Hirunika Eranjalee Premachandra respectively.

In the Kandy district of the Central Province, only three female politicians have been nominated from the main parties. Shrima Shiranthee Kongahage from the UNP, Mangalika Samanmali Jayasekara from the  NPP  and Chandrika Senaratne from SLPP have been awarded nominations. Regrettably, the SJB has failed to nominate a female candidate for the district. The nominations of each party tolled up to 22.

The situation in the Galle and Matara districts in the Southern province is much similar to the figures observed in Kandy.

In Galle, the UNP and SJB failed to nominate any female candidates while the NPP led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake nominated two female candidates: Champa Sumudu Kumari and Wilegoda Mudalige Susan Weera Kumara. The SLPP managed to nominate one female candidate: Geetha Samanmalee Kumarasingha. The total number of candidates nominated by each party was 12.

In the Matara district, only the NPP succeeded in nominating a woman candidate; namely, Saroja Saavithri Polraj. The SLPP, UNP, SJB all failed to follow the NPP’s lead. The total number of nominations handed out by each party in this electorate was 12.

The Badulla electorate of the Uva Province showed similar figures, with only the SLPP nominating a single female candidate: Oshadi Hewamadduma from a total of 12 nominations. The UNP, SJB and NPP all failed to nominate female candidates for this constituency while each party put forth 12 candidates each to contest in the elections.

The district of Ratnapura in the Sabaragamuwa Province produced somewhat better results compared to the Uva Province, with four female candidates being eligible to contest. The UNP nominated Ruwini Thakshila Abemanna out of 12 nominations. The NPP, however, failed to nominate any female contenders, while the SLPP included two women in their list – current Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Muditha Prishanthi – in their 12 nominations. The SJB included former minister of Justice and Prison Reforms Thalatha Athukorala in their list of 12 contenders.

In the Anuradhapura district of North Central Province, the UNP and SJB nominated Kusum Rathnayaka and former minister Chandrani Bandara respectively. No other major political party has nominated a single female candidate. The total number of candidates nominated by each party is 12.

In Jaffna, two female candidates were deemed eligible: Vijayakala Maheswaran from the UNP and Bawadharani Rajasingham from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Disappointingly, no female contenders have been nominated by any major political party for the Batticaloa district in the Eastern Province. Only the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pilukal (TMVP) has nominated one female candidate, Mangaleshawari Shankar.

The numbers reveal a dire situation indeed. It is unfortunate that a once-progressive democracy appears to be going back in time when it comes to women’s empowerment and representation. It is time the public – over 50 % of whom are women – took note. (Colombo/Jul24/2020)

 

 

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Sri Lanka schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

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Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

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Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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