(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Election Commission will issue the Gazette containing the list of members in each Local Government body on March 3, Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said.
He said Deputy and Assistant Commissioners in their capacity as the returning officers yesterday sent letters to the General Secretaries of the political parties and Leaders of Independent Groups informing the number of members they should appoint for each of the LG body.
Addressing a press conference at the Elections Secretariat in Rajagiriya, Deshapriya said the Commission had requested the list of members at the latest by March 2. He explained even candidates who had lost their seats could be appointed through the list.
The Chairman said adhering to 25 percent quota to female representation is difficult in about 10 LG bodies including Manmuneipattu in Batticaloa
where all the elected candidates are men. “In such occasions, we cannot force the parties to stick to 25 percent quota for women, but in the letter we encouraged them to include more women from the list. Some women organizations and people criticised me stating that I try to reduce female representation, but that was not true,” he added. However, he pointed out 535 female candidates have been able to win their respective seats. “We have elected 5,075 male candidates and 535 female candidates from the First-Past-the-Post system. As a percentage this is more than 10 percent. Against the 1.9 percent female representation prevailed at the LG bodies previously, this is a significant achievement,” he noted.
He said overhangs were there in 196 out of 340 LG bodies increasing the total number of members by 364 from 8,325 to 8,689. He said the letters also indicated that any party or independent group which had obtained 50 percent or more in a council could appoint a member of their party or group as the Head. “I foresaw some of the problems currently being experienced. When I pointed them out at meetings the authorities told me that I was looking at extremes,” he noted.
I WANT A REST – DESHAPRIYA
Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday expressed his desire to take a rest from his work by assigning his duties to another at least for a short period.
He made this comment winding up a press conference called by him at the Elections Secretariat premises yesterday.
“I am seriously thinking as to when I can get rid of this mantle. I want to take at least one month vacation leave.As per the Constitution, I can do so by assigning my duties to another.
I will contemplate on doing so after the relevant Gazette for the Local Authorities is issued.
This is mainly because I feel exhausted after working restlessly over the past months and also feel tired of replying to the media,” he said.