Feb 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said the local government election held today is peaceful because of the new electoral system introduced by the United National Party (UNP).
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe expressed his gratitude to the Election Commission and the state officials as well as the voters for their support to hold the local government peacefully.
The Premier made this observation speaking to the media after voting at the poling center in the Colombo University today.
"At this election, we introduced a new electoral system. Accordingly, this election campaign is held peaceful. In 2002 also we were able to conduct peaceful local government elections but this election is conducted more peacefully," he said.
"The reason is that the most competitive and conflicting preferential voting system that was in the previous elections is not seen in the new system we introduced," the Prime Minister said adding that the UNP was the party responsible for introducing such a peaceful election. "Therefore, we expect that we will gain an advantage on one side at this election," he said.
He further explained that under the new system a people can appoint a representative responsible for administration of their area and the voters therefore will have the opportunity to meet their representative and discuss the issues in their area to find solutions.
The Premier said the UNP also brought measures to increase the women's representation at the local elections. "We increased 5 percent women representation to 25 percent," he noted.
"I am particularly grateful to the Election Commission for organizing such an independent election campaign in the country. I would also like to extend my thanks to all Government Officials for their work. I also extend my gratitude to the voters for their peaceful voting."
This is the first time that local government elections were held under the new mixed electoral voting system eliminating the preferential voting. Under the mixed electoral voting system 60 percent of the candidates are being elected under the first-past-the-post system while 40 percent will be elected through the proportional representation system.
The government also enacted law make it binding on all political parties and independent groups to field at least 25 percent female candidates in local elections.