The government is determined to hold elections to the now dissolved local government bodies in November, an authoritative government source said yesterday.
Public Administration, Local Government and Provincial Councils Secretary J. Dadallage told Daily Mirror that President Maithripala Sirisena had on Friday signed the gazette notification outlining the criteria for the Delimitation of Local Government Bodies and it is expected to be released today paving the way for local government elections under a new local government electoral system.
Mr. Dadallage said the government is required to hold such elections within six months of the release of the gazette notification and after the expiry of the remaining 25 local government bodies.
Elections would have to be held to elect members to 335 local government bodies.
He said 210 local government bodies are administered by special commissioners after their term of office expired. The term of office of 15 Municipal Councils, five Pradeshiya Sabhas and one Urban Council will end either on October 16 or on October 31.
The Municipal Councils of Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte, Moratuwa, Negombo, Gampaha, Kurunegala, Kandy, Matara, Nuwara-Eliya, Badulla, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura and Kalmunai will end their term of office on October 16, 2015 while the Municipal Councils of Colombo and Hambantota; the Pradeshiya Sabhas of Kotikawatta-Mulleriyawa, Kundasale, Kadawath Hatara-Gangawatakorale, Hambantota and Suriyawewa and that of the Kolonnawa Urban Council will end their term of office on October 31.
The final report of the national delimitation committee appointed on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms chaired by Dinesh Gunawardana was handed over to former minister Karu Jayasuriya recently.
In the Colombo District, 252 members will be elected from single member wards, 56 from 28 two-member wards and 21 from seven three-member wards. At Badulla, 197 out of a total of 239 local government members will be elected from single wards and 42 for 21 two-member seats. At Batticaloa District in the East, 140 local government members will be elected for single member wards while six will be elected from two-member wards.
“The main objective of the new local government electoral system is to do away with the much criticised Preferential Voting (PR) system and give the opportunity to the voter to elect honest, educated and people-friendly members to their local government bodies. Those who are elected must be prepared to provide an honorable service and suitable to be called honorable members by the people,” Mr. Dadallage stressed.
There will be no local government or Provincial Council elections on a scattered basis and all elections will be held on a single day.
President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have decided to fully concentrate on nation building and good governance and to provide a political solution to the national question.(Sandun A Jayasekera)