Two bills that provide for the introduction of a new electoral system for local bodies will be enacted in Parliament on October 10, Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane said yesterday.
The leaders of the political parties agreed to pass these two bills – the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill and the Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill -- in the House at the business committee meeting chaired by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. The proposed law will provide for an electoral system to elect 70 percent of the local government representatives on the First Past the Post System and the remaining 30 percent on the Proportional Representation System.
Mr. Gunawardane said that the bills had special provisions to ensure representation of the minority communities.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms chaired by Mr. Gunwardane introduced these electoral reforms. Earlier the bills had beendebated in Parliament and then shelved after being referred to the committee stage of the House.
“We will give two hours for the political parties to propose amendments on October 10. After that, they will be put to a vote by the MPs,” said Mr. Gunawardena.
The government had planned to take up these bills on January 17, 2012. Yet, it had been put off for some reason. Once the new bills are passed in the House, delimitation committees will be appointed to demarcate boundaries of wards to be created under the new system.
Political analysts say that the present proportional representation system has led to inter party and intra party violence. In the run up to the September 8 provincial council elections, two persons were killed due to infighting for preferential votes. (KB and YP)