Voting by proxy at local elections will be allowed, if Parliament approves amendments to the Local Authorities Election Ordinance.
The vote by proxy applies only to members of the armed forces and the police, employees of the railways, posts and telecommunications and prisons departments, and the state-owned transport sector.
Others eligible to apply for proxy voting are public service and Central Bank employees and provincial government officials who are likely to be on election duty on the day of a poll.
Once an application for proxy voting is allowed by a returning officer, a special poll card will be issued to the proxy, who will then be permitted to cast a vote on behalf the person making the application. A person can act as a proxy voter on behalf of one voter only.
Amendments will also be made to the Pradeshya Sabhas Act and the Urban Councils and Municipal Councils Ordinance. These amendments will affect the method of election of members to these bodies.
The amendments also make provision for the holding of by-elections in respect of a ward in which there is a vacancy before the end of the term of the local body.
The re-introduction of the ward system and a change in the system of electing representatives to local bodies are some of the recommendations in the interim report of the select committee of Parliament on electoral reforms. The report was submitted last year.