The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence critically engages with the election observation processes in Sri Lanka and has been simultaneously contributing to the electoral reform process in the country. As part of all these functions, CMEV has initiated a series of discussions with the intention of enhancing an island wide public discourse on “Limitations on Campaign Finance and the Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities” in partnership with International Idea.
Therefore, while contributing to the said initiative, CMEV organized a series of discussions in national universities and the initial event was successfully held in University of Peradeniya recently. The notable feature of this workshop was the participation of more than 75 women who are following a diploma course on empowering women on politics in partnership with Ministry of Women & Child affairs. Further Dr. Vijaya Jayathilake, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Kamala Liyanage and several other lecturers and students attended this program. Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (retired) Mr. N. A. Dharmasiri and National Coordinator of CMEV Manjula Gajanayake were the speakers of this discussion.
The objective of this workshop series was to encourage the involvement of university community towards introducing a campaign finance law which is still not exposed. The Delhi Declaration is also a leading source of this discussion as it is a basic document explaining principles on Political Finance Regulation. It is a followed up document with the agreement of Elections Management Bodies (EMBs) and other vigilant groups in South Asia initiated by International IDEA, who together with the Electoral Commission of India, helped to create the New Delhi Declaration; a set of political finance standards and guidelines developed for the South Asian region which was launched in December 2015.
Though there are many positive features of the newly introduced election system for the local government election through the Local Government Election (Amendment) Act No.22 of 2012, one of the prominent concerns in the principal Act was abolishing the youth quota which was introduced in 1990 by Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No.25 of 1990 which required representation of 40% of youth candidates in the nomination lists.
This was recommended on the report of the Presidential Commission on Youth issued in 1990 which was under the Chairmanship of Prof. Lakshman Jayathilake.
It is a critical concern for numerous organizations especially for organizations working for and maintaining youth networks. They have come forward with campaigns seeking ways in which leaders from political parties could maintain a considerable proportion for youth candidates in their nomination lists. One of the youth networks working island wide, known as LYON Sri Lanka visited CMEV to discuss this matter and strategically plan their campaign in order to effectively request more youth candidates into the nomination lists
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’’.
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.