ACMC calls for stability amid post polls upheaval | Sunday Observer

ACMC calls for stability amid post polls upheaval

Leader of ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen addresses the media with ACMC MPs and officials
Leader of ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen addresses the media with ACMC MPs and officials

Riding on its latest electoral victory at the recent local polls, the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) has called for political stability within the government while denouncing the latest Mixed Electoral System (MES) used in the polls.

“We call for our two leaders to unite in a stable government” voiced the Leader of ACMC and Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing a press briefing in Colombo, on February 20.

“The Mixed Electoral System (MES) has been applied for the first time, in the recent local elections. The ACMC believes, the MES has been introduced to favour the two major parties, and to politically deprive the minority and smaller political parties of their chances,” said Minister Bathiudeen.

He added: “We denounce changing Sri Lanka’s electoral systems in this way as per the whims and fancies of those in power so that it works only for them. The problems and effects of the new MES is already evident with nearly half of them tied and hang without a clear winner, unable to form their administrations.

The latest news is that the March first week deadline to elect their rule has been postponed to late March, and we believe there is now a likelihood that it may get pushed further down to April, or even later. Now imagine what would happen to the country when MES is introduced to the Provincial and General Elections.

Therefore, we at ACMC call for reverting back to the Preferential Electoral System, where an elected member can oversee and be responsible for not just his electorate, but would be free to work for a much larger area” he said.

When we pointed out that despite his criticism, it is the new MES that has helped the ACMC to increase their local government seats nearly four-fold and bring their previous low 44 seats to a huge 166, Minister Bathiudeen agreed, but stressed: “Yes, but any change in our electoral system should be for the benefit and development of the people and the country, not for any political parties, including the ACMC.”

Asked about ACMC’s way forward with the unity government amid the developing political instability, he said: “We call on our two leaders to unite for a stable government. We support such a government. I thank all the voters of all ethnicity and religion who supported the ACMC in its victory.”

The ACMC contested in 15 Districts at the last local polls, and increased its seats by a huge 277% to 166 from the previous 44. The party contested alone in some areas while in others, with the UNP, and in many locations in the Eastern Province we contested with United Peace Alliance led by Hassan Ali. The ACMC won 34 seats in Mannar, and 12 in Mullaitivu and formed three Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Mannar-Museli PS, Mantai West PS and Mannar PS.

According to Minister Bathiudeen, the party is currently working to form five Pradeshiya Sabhas in the East on winning 64 seats in the Province.

The total votes received by the ACMC in all 15 Districts are still being calculated, though it has polled a little over 180,000 in six identified Districts, so far.