Training for election officials – Anuradhapura District

As a part of the strategic plan 2017-2020 adopted by Election Commission of Sri Lanka, numerous training programmes and awareness sessions are being conducted by district level election offices to enable their EMB officials to strengthen the electoral process of the country while shaping the strategic directions identified by the strategic plan adopted for the duration of 2017-2020.
CMEV supported the one day training workshop organised by Anuradhapura Disctrict office at the Caravan Park Hotel Anuradhapura on 10th November 2017. This workshop was facilitated by Asanka Rathnayake, Assistant Commissioner, Anuradhapura District –the workshop consisted of interactive presentations and group work, promoting inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and office maintenance according to productivity concept etc. This event was supported by the Open Society Foundation.

‘Let us grant her the power, for a clean political culture’

With the introduction of the 25% quota for women in the Local Government Elections, the electoral demography of the country is set to change dramatically. This will be seen especially at local government level because of any of the local councils to be set up after the election should appoint a minimum of 4/1 elected female members.

The special feature of the Act which increased female representation in local elections is No.22 of 2012 Election (Amendment) Act, No. 01 of 2016 and No. 17 of 2016 – these give a greater chance for women who are willing to enter politics. Political parties of the country must work with women’s rights groups as well as individuals to ensure this quota in their nomination papers, an integral part of said act.

There were only 82 women Councillors in previous councils. However with this new quota, there will be more than 2,200 female members elected according to the 25% quota.

Further, the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government will promote this new quota through an event  at the open air theatre of the Viharamahadevi  Park,  Colombo on 14th,  November  2017  at 3 pm. The Ministry is organizing this event through Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance (SLILG) in partnership with other civil society organisations.  The event is under the theme of ‘Women for Change’.

CMEV and PAFFREL  are giving their fullest support as election-observing organisations which have promote women political participation consistently. Both organisations are joining hands with the ministry under their banner: ‘’Let us grant her the power, for a clean political culture’’.

Delimitation Committee Appointed for Provincial Council Elections begins proceedings

Committee appointed by the president to delimit the Provincial Council Electorates decided to hold meetings to obtain the views of the general public regarding the delimitation of Provincial Council Electorates.

Those meetings will be held in each district as follows and are open for general public, political parties and other interested civil organisations to express their views and proposals concerning the delimitation of Provincial Councils Electorates. Details on the meetings being held in each administrative district can be accessed in Sinhala and English.

Election Commission issues first official notice on Local Government Election 2018

Putting an end to the continuous postponement of the much awaited Local Government election, the Minister of  Provincial Councils and Local Government has signed the gazette notification on constituting the number of members to Local Government bodies.

The said gazette has already been sent to the government printing department for publication. The first council that ended the 4 year term was Batticaloa Municipal Council which was in the year 2012.

The terms of all the Local Government Bodies have reach their end from time to time starting from the month of march in the year 2012, accordingly it was in the year 2015 that the last remaining councils concluded the terms. Therefore the Sri Lankan electors have been waiting for an opportunity to cast their votes to select their local representatives under the newly introduced system of elections which is a mix system comprising of 60% and 40% from FPPT and PR respectively.

According to the notice issued by the Election Commission, the consideration has been given to the possibility of holding the election at a date between 20th to  31st January 2018.

Manjula Gajanayake – Interview on ArtTV’s ‘Public Space’

Manjula Gajanayake, National Co-ordinator of CMEV, was invited to attend the programme ”Public Spacce” that’s aired weekly on ART TV which is a platform where current topics are discussed. Mr. Gajanayake spoke about the special features of the new election system which will be put into practice at the next local government election and about the method that will be used to select the representatives within this new system. Furthermore, he unveiled the observations of CMEV regarding the perceived reasons for the delay of the long-awaited Local Government Election and who are the responsible parties for the said delay.

Q&A with the Chairman of the Election Commission

The local government elections that is due to be held in the near future has given rise to numerous critical issues in the political sphere for 2 main reasons. Firstly, the uncertainty of the date of elections and secondly, the different definitions and interpretations’ which are made, based on the new law which will be adopted in commencing the said elections.

The next local government elections will be held in accordance with the new Act introduced in the year 2012, as the Act no 22 of 2012 Local Government Election (Amendment). Since there are several amendments introduced by the parliament related to this act, and due to the way in which the whole country has been divided in line with this law, the actual situation is misunderstood by the general public.

In order to shed light on some of the confusing facts related to aforementioned issues, CMEV has formulated and presented this questionnaire with the answers of Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya.

In this interview he has taken all the prevailing issues and basic details pertinent to the new law into consideration. Furthermore, he has explained the steps taken by election commission leading up to the election with the intent of clarifying the doubts arisen with the allegations leveled by various civic engagement groups and political parties regarding the lack of proactive engagement visible in fulfilling the role of the Election Commission in commencing the LG elections.

Download the document here.

Manjula Gajanayake – Interview on RanOne FM’s ‘7.17’

Manjula Gajanayake, the National Co-ordinator of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence, was invited to share his views and insights on the upcoming Local Government Elections and the current situation of Provincial Councils elections, at  the radio talk-show ‘7.17’ aired on RanOne FM. 

Listen to the interview in full here.

In this programme, Manjula Gajanayake highlighted various issues pertaining to the postponement of 2 elections:  namely Local Government and Provincial Council Elections. Though the minister of local government and provincial councils Mr. Faizer Mustafa stated that the Local government elections can be duly held during the month of January 2018, the relevant ministry is yet to fulfill basic requirements  such as publishing gazette notification on the constituency of new local government authorities as LG elections to be held under new electoral system. And this time, the members will be increased in number as twice as the previous times in comparison due to the introduction of new electoral system which is a mix of FPPT and PR. Meanwhile, government has introduced a new electoral system to the provincial councils which is known as mix system that’s comprising. of 50% each of PR and FPTT.

However he also emphasized that  the hasty manner in which these changes were made is contradictory to the principle of representative democracy. One of the salient issues observed in the process of approving the relevant bill is that the government has not allowed the general public to scrutinize and to create any public debate with this regard.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the promises made by the line minister regarding the dates of local government elections were not true and hence it is difficult to have faith on the remarks he has been making in relation to the dates of elections.

Another important point he made during the interview was that the government is required to take appropriate measures to use the existing delimitation commission without setting up separate delimitation committees with the participation of political party members. One can’t deny the fact that the government has used previous delimitation committees to postpone the elections.