The date for Parliament to debate amendments to the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 2012 will be decided at the party leaders' meeting next week, Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said.
"The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) have appointed a committee to study the Bill and to discuss a number of matters regarding local government elections. They met representatives of all political parties and we have agreed to set a date for the debate at the party leaders' meeting," he said.
The minister added that one of the main concerns the SLFP has is that through the new electoral system, which will be for the most part a first-past-the-post system, the number of local councillors will be increased to over 8,000 from the current 4,000.
"The President also felt that this will be an unnecessary increase and we are exploring the possibility of reducing this number," he said. Meanwhile, Elections Commission head Mahinda Deshapriya said at a seminar that was jointly organized by his office and the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) last week, that the Local Government Elections can be held in early October.
"The Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils has said that the Bill to amend the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 2012 will be gazetted on 1 July. We can't do anything until the gazette is out on this date as Parliament will take another two weeks to pass the Bill," he said.
After the Speaker signs the Bill, the Commission needs at least 75 days to make the necessary preparations for the elections. "So it will be at least mid September – early October when we can hold the election," he said. Local Government Elections were to be held in 2016 but have been postponed due to issues relating to the delimitation committee report. The Committee appointed to review the Delimitation Committee report only handed over their review earlier this week.
Sources : ceylontoday
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