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SLMC opposes new electoral system for PC elections


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  • Faiszer calls on voters to refrain from voting for candidates of their own ethnicity
  • Hakeem says new electoral system adversely effects  Muslim community
  • Says new system was introduced with the wrong intentions

Minister of Local Government and Provincial Council Faiszer Mustapha

 

By Skandha Gunasekara

Minister of Local Government and Provincial Council Faiszer Mustapha told Parliament yesterday said the country could not revert to the flawed Proportional Election system solely to prevent further delay in holding elections.

Taking part in the adjournment debate on the delay in holding Provincial Council elections, the Minister went on to say that only political parties representing ethnic minorities were opposing the new mixed electoral system.

“These parties who leech off national political parties are opposing the mixed system. These parties sell their respective communities to gain votes, but they are not prepared to contest on their own. I had to face much criticism and hardship for supporting a national political party” he said.

In addition, the Minister said that Sri Lankan voters must do away with the culture of voting for candidates belonging to their own ethnic or religious group.

He then went on to blame the delimitation committee for the problems faced by conducting the recent Local Government elections under the new electoral system.

“The delimitation committee turned down my request to hold a roundtable discussion to deliberate the new electoral system,” he said.

However, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader and Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Rauff Hakeem told Parliament that the new electoral system affected the Muslim demographic negatively.

Stating that his Party is against the proposal to conduct the Provincial Council elections under the new electoral system, Hakeem claimed that under the new system, the number of members elected into some council has been reduced drastically.

“In some local bodies, where 43 members were elected under the old system, only 13 were elected under the new electoral system.”

He said that the new electoral format made it easy to manipulate voters.

“We saw how some candidates induced voters by offering various rewards. We also saw how mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples and churches were used for political activities during the last Local Government election. Sri Lanka cannot be a laboratory where electoral systems are tested, but we should stick to a fair system accepted by everyone,” he said


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