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PSC recommends legal amendments to hold PC polls

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The PSC met last week (08) under the chairmanship of Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa pointed out that a number of problems had arisen in the country due to the inactivity of the Provincial Councils for more than three years. It is not fair for one person to control the Provincial Council. At present the Local Government Bodies and the Parliament are in an active state.

Only Provincial Councils remain inactive. Therefore, the Minister of Finance emphasized that Provincial Council elections should be held expeditiously.

The Committee Members pointed out that in the current situation, the Provincial Council Elections should be held under the old electoral system.

PSC Chairman and Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that it was appropriate to present the necessary legal amendments to Parliament in January next year in order to hold the Provincial Council Elections. The need to work towards a fair representation of women in making such amendments was also discussed in the Committee.

“The majority opinion is that a mixed electoral system is suitable for the country,” he said. Minister Gunawardena emphasized that many political parties as well as independent groups that testified in the Committee were of the same opinion.

The Expert Committee appointed to analyze Proposals submitted to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System also submitted proposals to the Parliamentary Select Committee.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, its Chairman, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof. Sudantha Liyanage pointed out that the general public opinion was that the number of seats in Local Government (LG) bodies should be reduced. He pointed out in the committee that it was not practical to reduce the number of divisions but the number of seats should be reduced from Proportional Representation (PR).

He also said that some members of the expert committee were of the view that the number of seats should be reduced from both divisional and PR systems. It is advisable to maintain the female representation at 25 per cent. Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections should be held under the same system. It is advisable to keep the number of seats at 225 in Parliament.

Prof. Sudantha Liyanage stressed at the committee meeting that a proper procedure should be devised for the appointment of Members of Parliament from the National List.

“The next meeting of the PSC is scheduled to be held on October 22,” said Secretary to the Select Committee, Deputy Secretary General & Chief of Staff of Parliament Ms. Kushani Rohanadheera.

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