Newly introduced LG election system has turned people’s wish upside down, says JO


Dallas Alahapperuma addressing the media. (L-R) MPs, Sisira Jayakody, Thenuka Vidanagamage, Alahapperuma and Shehan Semasinghe (pic by Ranjith Wimalasiri)

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UPFA MP Sirira Jayakody alleges that the newly introduced local government election system has caused unprecedented chaos with the party having the majority of seats in a particular body unable to form an administration due to losers being granted ‘free slots.’

Attorney-at-law Jayakody said that the new system was obviously designed to cause instability at the local government level. Jayakody was flanked by MP Dallas Alahapperuma, Shehan Semasinghe and Thenuka Vidamanagame.

The JO member representing the Gampaha District said so at media briefing held at Dr. N.M. Perera Centre on Wednesday (Feb. 15).

An irate SLFPer said the crisis at Peliyagoda Municipal Council reflected the situation at many councils secured by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at Feb. 10 local government polls.

The rebel UPFA group fielded candidates on SLPP ticket.

Jayakody said Peliyagoda MC consisted of ten members. "We secured seven slots and the UNP three. The UNP also received three additional slots, the SLFP two and JVP 1, thereby giving them a majority," Jayakody said.

Jayakody alleged that the UNP-JVP combine had purposely manipulated the system to trigger chaos as the grouping realised the danger of losing grassroots level administration to genuine Opposition.

Anuradhapura District MP Semasinghe alleged that the JVP had been engaged in a clandestine operation to protect the UNP-led government. The JVP efforts were continuing in the wake of massive defeat suffered by the ruling coalition, Semasinghe said, adding that Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s outfit, too, had been rejected at the recently concluded LG polls.

Responding to a query, Matara District MP Alahapperuma said the government couldn’t deprive local government bodies of funds. The MP said that some SLFP and UNP leaders engaged in what he called a foolish propaganda project to discourage voters from exercising their franchise in support of SLPP. According to the former minister, Provincial Councils provided funds required by local government authorities through revenue from various taxes. The MP admitted that PCs received government allocation but local governments primarily received their funding requirement by way of PC imposed taxes.

Alahapperuma said former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had provided Rs. 1 mn each to 40 local government bodies that received support.

Meanwhile, a senior SLPP official told The Island that those who had been elected and appointed from SLFP/UPFA and the JVP to local government bodies won by SLPP wouldn’t vote in case there was a contest between SLPP and UNP for the post of Chairman or Chairperson.

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