Women can handle any issue - Shanthini Kongahage | Sunday Observer
Parliamentary Elections

Women can handle any issue - Shanthini Kongahage

Sri Lanka needs more women representatives in Parliament, said Shanthini Kongahage, Kandy District United National Party (UNP) Leader, however, expressing fears that a lesser percentage of women will get elected because they are hit with financial constraints.

Q.Why do you think people should vote for the UNP?

A: The UNP is a long standing party with great leaders. The late President J. R. Jayewardene was one such leader. He not only opened the economy, but also moved with the world.

The UNP is not a small party. Older voters know its legacy.

We take care of the people belonging to different communities. The UNP proved that it can address these issues. Thanks to the Yahapalanaya regime, the Election Commission was given more powers under the 19th Amendment. As a result, we see a different campaigning process now.

Q. Do you believe having women in political leadership provides a different kind of voice?

A: Women are smart enough to handle any issue. What I see is that not all men are suitable for the political positions they hold. Many try to deceive the poor to get their votes. Women politicians do not bribe voters with a bottle of arrack to get votes.

I am an experienced politician and have done social service. There are 90,000 widows in Sri Lanka, but no one talks about their issues.

We now have a major migrant worker issue too. Migrant workers are those who kept the economy stable. We need women’s voice to address these issues.

Q. Will there be more women elected to Parliament this time?

A: We have a small percentage of women in Parliament. I fear that the number of women would drop further this time. This is because in the current situation it is hard for us to meet financial commitments.

Q. What do you feel about LGBT+ rights?

A: We have to respect everyone. We don’t talk openly about this subject. It is a personal subject too. Sri Lanka is not ready for this.

Q.What is your vision for the country?

A: Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country. We can promote tourism, while developing the agriculture sector.

Q. Do you have a message to your voters?

A: I appeal to everyone to vote at the election. Cast your vote. It does not matter to which party or a person you vote for. You get this opportunity only once every five years. 

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