Sri Lanka likely to hold provincial council elections in early 2022: Report

The Sri Lankan government has indicated holding provincial councils’ elections--which has been on hold for more than three years now-- early in 2022 after amending a law to change the system to the earlier Proportional Representation electoral system, The Hindu reported

Oct 10, 2021
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Sri Lanka likely to hold provincial council elections in early 2022

The Sri Lankan government has indicated holding provincial councils’ elections--which has been on hold for more than three years now-- early in 2022 after amending a law to change the system to the earlier Proportional Representation electoral system, The Hindu reported. The development came days after Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited the country this week, and had raised the issue.

The decision came after a parliamentary committee on election reform held a discussion this week. Opposition legislator and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader Mano Ganesan said after the meeting that Basil Rajapaksa, who is currently finance minister, had agreed to the conduct of polls in the “first quarter of 2022”, according to the report.

However, the government will introduce an amendment to the law, changing the format of elections to the propositional representation electoral system. Tamil parties in Sri Lanka have long been pressing the government for elections. 

“The government appears confident of being able to pass the amendment and has instructed the subject minister to take necessary steps,” Mano Ganesan was quoted as saying by The Hindu, adding, “Although we are in Opposition, we would support such an amendment in Parliament in the interest of holding the provincial polls without further delay.”

India is not the only country pressing the Rajapaksa government for holding elections. other international actors, including rights groups, have also demanded the same. 

UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted in March this year also called upon Sri Lanka to “fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population."

The resolution also called the Sri Lankan "to respect local governance, including through the holding of elections for provincial councils, and to ensure that all provincial councils, including the northern and eastern provincial councils, are able to operate effectively, in accordance with the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.”

(SAM)