Local Authorities amendment bills held back for inclusion of further changes

By Saman Indrajith

The government did not present the Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill and Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill to parliament for approval yesterday.

At the commencement of Notice of Motions and Orders of the day, Leader of the House and Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva informed the House that the bills would not be presented since some proposals for further amendments had been received and the bills would be taken up for the committee stage debate after they were included.

UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa had proposed two amendments to the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill yesterday. The amendments suggested by the MP who is also the deputy leader of the UNP sought to ensure 25 percent allocations each for youth and women in the nominations lists for the local government bodies and to change the word councillor to member so that an elected representative would not be described as councillor in a local government body but only as a member.

The proposed amendments to the local government election system are to replace the current preferential voting system in electing members to local government bodies with a mixed system of proportional representation system and first past the post system. The two bills on local government elections were presented to the House on two previous occasions, but were withdrawn before the committee stage approval in order to introduce amendments.

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