Sri Lanka's small parties unhappy with local government election reform

This, he said, is unfavorable as compared to the present system in which all seats are filled on the basis of the PRS.

Published: 13th January 2017 01:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2017 01:02 PM   |  A+A-

Mano Ganeshan, leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA)

Express News Service

COLOMBO: Small political parties and parties of small minorities have got a raw deal in the local government reform process and may be reluctant to support any legislation in the regard, says Mano Ganeshan, leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) and a cabinet minister for National Languages and Dialogue.

Ganeshan told Express on Friday that as per the present proposal, 79 percent of seats in local government councils will be filled through the First Past the Post System (FPPS) and 21 percent through the Proportional Representation System (PRS).

This, he said, is unfavorable as compared to the present system in which all seats are filled on the basis of the PRS.

It also is dilution of the promise made earlier to fill 40 percent through the PRS and 60 through the FPPS.

The proposed distribution of seats between the FPPS and PRS is unacceptable to the small parties and parties of small minorities like the TPA. The TPA and the Democratic Peoples’ Front (DPF) represent the Indian Origin Tamils who are scattered in Central, South and West Sri Lanka. They have depended on the PRS to get a few seats in the  various elected bodies from the lowest to the highest levels.

While the FPPS works well for the larger parties representing the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community, it is disadvantageous to small parties like the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) and the parties of numerically small minorities like the Indian Origin Tamils.  

Even Muslim parties like the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress would lose if the TPPS: PRS ratio is 79:21 ratio ,Ganeshan said.

Sri Lanka’s small minorities have got a good deal in the report of the constituency delimitation committee. And if the report is accepted by the government, local bodies elections may be held in June or July.

But if the elections are held under the proposed system (79:21), injustice will have been done to the small parties and parties of the small minorities, Ganeshan said.  

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