Power hijacked in some LG councils | Sunday Observer

Power hijacked in some LG councils

With the UNP and SLPP hijacking power in certain councils, overstepping the people’s mandate, independent polls observers highlighted the need to have safeguards to stop this unethical practice at the Provincial Council election if it is held under the new Act.

The SLPP joined forces with other members and seized the Mayoral post in Negombo and Galle Municipal Councils, while the UNP did the same in Katunayake-Seeduwa and the Balangoda Urban Councils.

The existing law provides for two bonus seats for the winning party to consolidate its power and it further ensures that a losing party cannot team up to overthrow the people’s mandate easily.

PAFFREL Executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi said if the Provincial Councils election is held under the new Act passed by Parliament last year, this provision of the two bonus seats should be re-introduced so as to block similar situations from recurring.

“I also think there should be a cutoff point to offer seats. The parties who fail to secure more than 5% votes should not be considered for seats at the PC election,” Hettarachchi said, adding that this will prevent over-distribution of seats depriving any party from obtaining a majority.

He also suggested a new ratio of 60% to 40 % between the Wards and Proportional Representation (PR) systems. The new law on PC elections dictates 50% to 50% ratio between Wards and PR.

Election Commission Deputy Commissioner M.M. Mohamed, too, emphasised the need to retain the two bonus seats for the winning party to avoid chaos.

“If the elections are held under the old system there will not be a similar issue,” he said.

During a secret ballot to elect the Galle Mayor, the SLPP candidate managed to secure majority votes, while in Negombo, the SLPP candidate was elected in an open ballot.

Five SLFP members voted with the SLPP in Negombo. Open ballots were held at the Katunayake-Seeduwa and Balangoda Urban councils to elect the Mayors for the two councils.