By Sandun A Jayasekera
The necessary amendments to the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act no 17 of 2017 will be presented for cabinet approval tomorrow (26) making way to conduct much-delayed PC polls soon after the Parliamentary Elections scheduled to be held in late April, Justice, Human Resources and Legal Reforms Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said yesterday.
Minister De Silva was confident that the PC polls could be held within two months after the general election.
“All 9 Provincial Councils are not functioning right now as their term of office has expired. There are no people’s representatives at Provincial Councils to look after the grievances of the people. As such, much of the development activities and public services have been disrupted. The only solution is to hold PC polls as early as possible,” Minister De Silva said.
With the enactment of the Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017, a new mixed voting system was introduced for provincial councils, where 50 per cent of the representatives would be elected by a simple majority system and another 50% would be selected according to the district level proportional representation method (the additional list). However, a number of party leaders and minority parties, in particular, did not agree with these provisions.
Two review committees were also appointed to go into the Act and propose necessary amendments and the two committees also ended up with more controversies. Finally, former President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a three-member committee led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but he is still to submit his report.
The best thing to do under the prevailing situation is to bring amendments to the Provincial Councils Election (Amendment) Act in Parliament with the consent of all party leaders and pass them paving the way for early PC polls, Minister De Silva noted. Commenting on the UNP’s refusal to increase the credit limit of the government to obtain additional funds to settle unpaid bills of development projects launched by the yahapalana government, Minister De Silva said the new Gotabaya Rajapaksa government to be formed after the April election, all outstanding bills of the government would be settled promptly.
The best thing to do under the prevailing situation is to bring amendments to the Provincial Councils Election (Amendment) Act in Parliament with the consent of all party leaders and pass them paving the way for early PC polls, Minister De Silva noted.