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Local Govt Elections Can not be Postponed More than a Year; Hold Them – JVP

About one year has passed since the terms of local government councils have expired. However, no election has been announced. Majority of the local government councils ended their terms on 31st December last year. After that day the period of councils with councilors was extended until 15th May. As such, those local government councils should be dissolved now and an election called.

Local government councils are institutions of people’s representatives that are very close to the daily lives of common people. Daily issues such as repairing roads in the area, disposing garbage, replacing street lamps, little children’s’ pre-school education are connected with local government councils. As a result of dissolving local government administration of these institutions is handled by officials who have no connection with the people. they have no responsibility for the people. The councilor, who is the representative of the people, with whatever shortcomings, pays attention to people’s issues. As such, the administration of people’s representatives is important for the people. As a result of officials carrying out administration nearly for a period of one year the ser vice for the people has completely broken down. The issues that affect people have become an utter mix-up. As such, elections for the local government councils should be held soon.

The only reason the government comes out with to postpone elections is the issue of  demarcating electoral boundaries  in the new Draft Local Government amendment Bill of 2011. According to the bill a Delimitations Commission was appointed to propose boundaries for electorates. There are many errors in the proposals. The government states the errors have to be corrected before the elections are held. We too believe that errors regarding proposed boundaries should be corrected. For, the delimitation process  was carried out according to wishes of former  Minister Basil Rajapaksa of the former government. The delimitation of electoral divisions was done to gain more power. An electorate was created by collecting villages sympathetic to the UPFA. In certain areas Muslims and Tamils would be denied the opportunity to elect their representatives due to the wrong delimitation of electoral divisions. Hence, the proposed delimitation process was to strengthen the power  of the then government.

Anura Kumara
Anura Kumara

The present government, on the pretext of this wrong  delimitation of electoral process, postpones elections. About 6 months ago Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement in the supreme Parliament, as they want to call it, said local government elections would be held before the next April. The same Prime Minister now postpones the election promised to be held in April to December. The real issue is not delimitation process. President Maithripala hopes to postpone the election and to conceal the division that has cropped up in the SLFP.

The whole country knows there is a division in the SLFP. It has come on stage. One faction functions with the party only with certain moves. However, if an election is held this division would occur officially. The President postpones elections to prevent this happening. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe thinks the present political situation is not healthy for the UNP. The Prime Minister agrees to postpone elections hoping that the end of the year would be advantageous for him. The needs of Maithri and Ranil have become one.

Maithri – Ranil government should pay attention to the mandate it received. How were elections held during Rajapaksa regime? After Thoppigala was captured an election was held. After Mankulam was overrun another election was held. When Killinochchi was captured another election was held. Elections were held when the time was advantageous for the government. Not a single election for a provincial council or a local government council was held at the due time.

This election game became a boomerang against Rajapaksas. Mahinda had to come down of the throne two years ahead as the election was held two years before the due time. Such are the bad experiences of the election game. People defeated the election game played by Rajapaksas. As such, the present rulers too should not be allowed to make elections a betting game.

Former Commissioner of Elections has said there are more than 44 errors in the new electoral act. according to this act a political party needs Rs.25 million to keep security deposits. Only a political party that is involved in rackets and thuggery. Also, there is a wrong counting process to determine the winner. Due to these errors we opposed this act in Parliament. Mr. Athaulla, the Minister then, agreed to amend it. The act had drastic errors regarding delimitation process and counting votes.

Also, there is a dialogue in the country regarding a new constitution. the main topic here is the electoral system. the Parliament ahs been changed to a Constitutional Assembly to commence discussions. there shouldn’t be separate systems for provincial councils, local government councils and the Parliament. Our proposal is that there should be a common system for all bodies. Hence we emphasize that the election for local government councils should be held before 31st March.

Local government elections cannot be put off for more than a year in a situation like today where emergency regulations are not operative. Hence, the government is attempting to postpone elections through a new bill. The government enact laws not for the benefit of the people or to establish democracy. The serious issue here is that Maithri – Ranil regime does not act according to the mandate of the people. We would commence moves to win an election. Also, at the next Parliamentary session we would ask for a two day debate on postponing elections. These rulers have always acted to get power and to maintain it. they have made democracy a football. they kicked it in directions they wanted. Hence, Maithri – Ranil regime should end this political game.

Excerpts from the speech mde by the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka  at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta on 17th March 2016.

– Courtesy Lanka Truth


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