Members of political parties in Parliament are involved in a serious discussion on holding the forthcoming Provincial Council elections, according to the previous proportional representation system, since there is a doubt that the same result, that was obtained at the Local Government elections, could be obtained, Ceylon Today learns.
The Local Government elections were held under a mixed system of first-past-the-post system and the proportional representation system. The Government is not satisfied with the results of the elections and this has given rise to the discussion.
A reliable source close to the Government confirmed this.
However, if the Provincial Council elections are to be held according to the previous method, Act No. 17 of 2017 under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has to be amended and the Government will have to get it passed in Parliament with a two thirds majority, the spokesman added.
The report of the Delimitation Committee, appointed by the Government to carry out delimitation of Provincial Councils, according to Act No. 17 of 2017, was handed over, by the Chairman of the Committee Dr. Thavalingam, to the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha, last Monday.
Secretary to the Ministry Kamal Padmasiri told Ceylon Today that this report is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in the next two weeks. He also said that as of now, a group is studying the report of the Delimitation Committee.
Even that report has to be passed in parliament with a two thirds majority.
If new amendments are to be presented for the report, the authority is given to the Prime Minister to appoint a new committee to prepare a new report, including the latest amendments, he added.
However, if Act No. 17 of 2017 is to be amended along with the report of the Delimitation Committee, the amended report too should be passed in Parliament with a two thirds majority.
The spokesman said that if the Government and other factions dislike the mixed electoral system the Government will be able to delay the election by putting the excuse on the amendments.
At a Press Briefing held last Thursday, the Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya emphasized that if the Provincial Council elections are to be postponed it would be against the supremacy of the people.
Elections to six Provincial Councils are due to be held in September this year and elections to three Provincial Councils, including the Western Provincial Council are scheduled to be held in April 2019.
According to the Secretary of the Delimitation Committee, Saman Ratnayake, based on the new Delimitation Report, no electoral division has been added in the new report. As usual there are 222 electoral divisions. The Committee received 678 ideas and proposals from political parties, civil organizations and the public.
The most important recommendation in the new Delimitation Committee Report is that for multi-member divisions, multi-member seats should be created. At the same time, the two bonus seats that are granted to the party which obtained the most number of votes at the Provincial Council, should be given to a certain ethnic group which does not possess representation within the Provincial Council, the Committee has further recommended.