A critical social dialogue on the Local Government Elections system has emerged after the release of the results of the February 10th polls, held under the Mixed Member Proportional Representation. This dialogue has become more essential as the fundamental basis of the same electoral system is scheduled to be used for the forth coming Provincial Councils Election as well.
Several stakeholders have entered in to this dialogue. Certain political parties were invited by both Centre for Monitoring Election Violence and People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL) to take part in this dialogue. A far-reaching discussion on new electoral system was held on 25 April 2018 in Colombo.
One of the main conclusions reached at this meeting was to appoint a committee of academics and professionals to study and review the new electoral system. Following this decision, a Civil Society Review Committee consisting of 8 members whose names are indicated below, has been set up for the above mentioned purpose.
- Mr. S. Medaweva, President, Election Professionals Association and a retired Civil Servant
- Mr. P. Siriwardena, Former Additional Commissioner, Department of Elections
- Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
- Dr. Sujatha Gamage, Senior Researcher
- Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of PAFFREL
- Mrs. Kumudini Samuel, Social Activist
- Mr. Luwie Ganeshathasan, Attorney At Law, Researcher
- Mr. Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV
The main task of the above committee would be to consult relevant parties and obtain their views on the Mixed Member Proportional Representation System, through which the forthcoming Provincial Council Election is scheduled to be conducted. They will compile a comprehensive report including the recommendations of the committee. In compiling the above report, the committee expects to also review the technical issues encountered at the recently concluded local government election. The entire process is coordinated with the assistance of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, while PAFFREL and CMEV facilitate.
The committee expects to release its report with recommendations before 15 July 2018. As part of proposed consultation series, both organisations were able to hold two consultations on the findings of the committee for provincial council ministers and members, political party officials and activists, key representatives of Civil Society Organisations including women organisations.
Key speakers at this event were Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Sri Jayawardenepura University, Dr. Sujatha Gamage, Senior Reseracher, Learn Asia, Kumuduni Samuael, Women Activist and Luwie Ganeshathasan, Attorney At Law and a Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives. These persons represented the Civil Society committee and Mr. Medewewa, Senior Civil Servant and the Chairman of Election Professionals Association also attended in this event.
There were two consultations at Waters Edge Hotel on 18th June 2018 and Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of PAFFREL and Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV were the facilitators of these two sessions. The next consultation is scheduled to be held in the first week of July for groups from the North and Eastern provinces. In addition, individual and group consultations of political party leaders and secretaries will take place in Colombo. The main outcome of these discussion has been the appointment of a committee to consult key stakeholders on the existing provincial council’s election system within a time frame of one and half month. USAID – DAI (SDGAP) provided the financial support for this event.