COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Delimitation Report which was defeated in Parliament recently by members of both the Government and Opposition cost the Sri Lanka taxpayer Rs 21mn.
Incidentally, subject minister Faiszer Mustapha, who presented the report to parliament, also voted against it. Following the defeat of the delimitation report, which was drafted to enable the holding of provincial council elections under a mixed electoral system,Â it is now been reviewed by a committee headed by the Prime Minister.
Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Faizer Mustapha stated that as the Minister of Provincial Councils, he possesses no power to interfere in, advise or make demands from the delimitations committee and that instead, he could only present it to the parliament within a period of 14 days and that he did that.
The Minister also says that many minority parties and also the United National Party (UNP) had opposed it and had opted for the old system.
“Even if the number of councilors under the old system is applied to the new system, each party will receive the same number of seats. The 50/50 ratio was introduced as per the request of the minority parties and it was the minority parties that requested that it be passed with a two-thirds majority” added the Minister.
This problem also arose during the adoption of the local government delimitation report, following the adoption of the local government elections act. Eventually, the delimitation report and the local government elections act were adopted by parliament along with numerous last-minute amendments.
On the 24th of August 2017, Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella made a statement that the delimitation report has to be adopted that very day and had also requested for any amendments to be forwarded by the JO.
The same issues that were brought up during the delimitation process for local government, are now being raised with regard to the provincial councils.
Politburo member of the JVP, Wasantha Samarasinghe believes that the PM and cabinet must accept their fault and resign. The provincial council elections act was passed in order to introduce a new elections system under a 50/50 ratio, however, ironically it was the Government itself that took measures to defeat the delimitation process in this regard.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
As the delimitation report was defeated in Parliament, it will now be looked into once again by a review committee. This review committee will by spearheaded by the Prime Minister.
Min. Mustapha claims that it was the minority parties that insisted that the appeals process should be held under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
Secretary of the Provincial Councils Delimitation Committee, Saman Sri Ratnayake stated that it is not the duty of the review committee to create a new report. Rathnayake noted that they could make minor alterations to the books but that they would not be able to make drastic changes such as effect the number of the provincial councilors.