The Cabinet today decided to refer the issue of conducting PC polls before May 31 to Parliament and consult party leaders on the legislative measures required to increase women representation to 25%, a senior minister said.
Provincial Councils, Local Government, Home and Internal Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardana has told the Cabinet that certain legislative measures have to be taken, including a new Act to increase women representation to 25% in PCs, before conducting the elections.
Minister Abeywardana has submitted his observations on holding elections to Provincial Councils to the cabinet yesterday sequent to President Sirisena’s cabinet memo presented on January 29, seeking approval to hold polls to all 9 PCs on a single day before May 31.
“Elections to PCs either under the new electoral system or a mixed system is impossible because one of the main conditions in the new electoral system, is the delimitation of PCs was rejected by Parliament. If we are to go back to the old electoral system or mixed electoral system with 25% women representation, we need a new Act to be passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament. We need to get these issues sorted out first before holding PC polls,” the minister told Daily Mirror yesterday.
A committee representing party leaders in Parliament will look into the issue of conducting PC polls before May 31st and come to a consensus on the matter, he added.
Minister Abeywardana added that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya must discuss the issue of conducing PC polls under the old electoral system and make arrangements to submit necessary amendments to the cabinet and Parliament to expedite the process for polls.
Meanwhile, the cabinet has also give the green light to launch the programme to distribute e-Tablets among GCE A/L students and teachers as a pilot project on a proposal made by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)