CMEV together with the Gender and Election Working Group(GEWG) conducted a press conference on 09 January 2023 to request all political parties to ensure better representation and safer participation for women in Local Government Elections. D.M. Dissanayake, Chief of Operation, CMEV stated that Sri Lanka is still considered a country with a lower women’s representation in politics according to the world classification in 2022 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Global Gender Gap index in 2021. Still, the 25% women quota introduced in 2017 has not been able to fulfil the expected participation of women in politics.
Ms Kanaka Abeygunawaradana, Convener of the GEWG pointed out that women’s representation is still limited to the legal requirement of the nomination process. Most of the women who contested in the last LG elections entered into politics as they were relatives of male politicians or close friends of party officials. She urged all political parties to give priority to active and capable women at the village level to include in nomination lists. Ms Abeygunawardana further emphasized that political parties should take necessary actions to prevent any illegal, unethical and seriously flawed practices such as asking for sexual bribes, support for some other male candidates’ campaigns or resigning after the election to give the seat to a senior person/male in the party. Ms Nalini Rathnarajah, a member of the GEWG, pointed out various forms Gender Based Violence that take place during the time of the election.
Ms Nanda Kumarihami represented Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) emphasized the issues persons with disabilities face within the electoral process and the importance of electoral systems and processes being inclusive and responsive to their needs and requirements. She addressed the press conference with the sign language facility.