Polls Chief assures women female quota won’t be pruned


By Rathindra Kuruwita

Head of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, has promised that the 25% quota for women in local councils will not be changed. He gave this assurance when he met a group of female local council candidates on Friday.

Rita de Silva, who successfully contested the recent election on the SLFP‚Äąticket said: "Many women were placed on the Additional List and most of them actively campaigned for their parties. In some parts of the North and East female candidates on the list were encouraged to do extensive campaigning by electoral organisers and they were assured of being elected from the Additional List. However, those organisers have reneged on their promise."

She said there had also been reports that the Election Commission was going to allow local councils to be established without 25% female representation. Thus, the women gathered in Colombo on Friday and met Deshapriya and sought a clarification.

"The Head of the Elections Commission promised that he would ensure female representation. However, we will also continue our campaign to pressure the political parties to honour their pledges."

Following the election Deshapriya said that there were quite a few local councils that found it extremely difficult to form administration due to the women’s quota.

The Elections Commission would meet political parties to discuss whether they should allow the establishment of local councils without having to fulfil the 25% female quota under the present circumstances, Deshapriya added.

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