UNP wants 40 percent of seats for women

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) wants 40 percent of the seats at the forthcoming local council elections reserved for female members, a spokesman said yesterday. The voting at these elections is to be a mix of both the “first past the post” and preferential voting systems.

“We will discuss the matter with the Government when legislation to amend laws regarding local council polls and related matters are debated in Parliament,” UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya told the Sunday Times.

The Government has already published two different Bills and called upon Provincial Councils to examine their provisions within one month. One Bill seeks to amend the Municipal Councils Ordinance, the Urban Councils Ordinance and the Pradeshiya Sabhas Act. The other seeks to amend the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance.

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Sunday Times his party had reached broad agreement on most provisions of the draft laws. This came during the dialogue the party had with UPFA leaders. However, he said there were areas where the party was in disagreement and such matters would be placed before the government.

A highlight of the proposed amendments is the creation of a National Delimitation Committee. Its task will be to divide each local council area into wards.

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