Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Mawatha, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka. 10107
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LOCAL AUTHORITIES ELECTION SYSTEM

 

Local authorities elections are conducted under the mixed proportional system.

What are the important Amendment Acts related to the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance?

1. Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No 22 of 2012

2. Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No 1 of 2016

3. Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No 16 of 2017

WHAT IS A MIXED PROPORTIONAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES ELECTION?

It is electing members of a local authority from wards and from a list. The Local Authorities Election (Amendment) Act No 22 of 2017 dated 12.10.2017 gives the percentages of above representation as follows.

  • On ward basis                         -           60%
  • On proportional basis           -           40%

HOW ARE THE NUMBER OF WARDS AND THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS FOR WARD CALCULATED?

The last Delimitation Commission has determined the number of wards for all local authorities of the island and this determination has been declared by the gazette notifications 1928/26 dated 21.08.2015 and 2006/44 dated 17.02.2017

There are two categories of local authorities

1. Single member wards

2. Multi member wards

 

The wards and the numbers of members for all local authorities are as follows.

Category of the Ward

No of Wards

No of members

Single member ward

4750

4750

Multi member wards with 2 members

165

330

Multi member wards with 3 members

04

12

Total

4919

5092

 

HOW IS THE NUMBER OF ELECTED MEMBERS CALCULATED ON THE PROPORTIONAL BASIS IN A LOCAL AUTHORITY AREA?

The number of members elected on the basis of wards is taken as 60 % in every local authority. The balance 40% is elected on the proportional basis. The total compliment of the local authority is the total of these two.

Eg; Pradeshiya Sabha A

Calculation on the basis of wards 60%

Single member wards                     - 14
Multi member wards constituting of 2 members - 01
Total Number of wards - 15
Single member candidates - 14
Multi-member candidates - 02
Total member of candidates - 16
According to the wards 60% - 16

 

Calculation on the proportional basis of 40%

Number of candidates on the basis of wards X 40/60

=      16 x 40/60

=      10.66 (ignore fractions and calculate to the integer)

On the proportional basis 40% =10

Accordingly the total number of member of the Pradeshiya Sabha is (16+10) = 26

 

HOW IS THE NUMBER OF CANDIDATES IN A NOMINATION PAPER DECIDED?

All political parties and independent groups should forward nominations in two lists.

Nominations for wards

A number of candidates equal to the number of members to be elected for the local authority should be included in the nomination paper taking both single and multi member wards into consideration.

Nominations for proportional basis

40%  has to be calculated according to the above example and such number of candidates added with 3 numbers should be included in this nomination paper.

Eg; When 10 members have to be selected on proportional basis for the Pradeshiya Sabha A, 13 names of candidates (10+3) should be included in the nomination paper

 

HOW IS THE NUMBER OF WOMEN CANDIDATES IN THE NOMINATION PAPER CALCULATED?

All Political Parties and independent groups should submit nominations for women's representation in the above two forms.

Number of women candidates should be 10% of the total number of members that should be elected for the local authority.

Eg; Total number of members in the Pradeshiya Sabha A is (16+10) = 26

          Accordingly the number of women candidates to contest are:

           26 X 10/100   = 2.6 ( Ignore the fraction and take the integer )

                                   = 02

Accordingly the number of women candidates to be included in the nomination paper is 2

50% of the candidates in the nomination paper of proportional basis should be women candidates

eg; As the number of candidates on the proportional basis for the Pradeshiya Sabha A is 13 (as mentioned above)

13 X 50/100   = 6.5 ( ignore fraction and take the interger)

                        = 06 

 

WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION OF THE INCLUSION OF YOUTH IN THE NOMINATION PAPER?

Youth representation was given as 25% in the Act No 22 of 2012 It has been increased  to 30% by the Act No 16 of 2017, but youth representation has not been made compulsory

 

WHAT ARE THE DISQUALIFICATIONS TO BE A CANDIDATE FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES ELECTIONS?

Disqualifications (Section 9)

(i) Not being a citizen of Sri Lanka
(ii) Being below 18 year of age
(iii) A judicial officer
(iv) A member of an armed force
(v) A police officer
(vi) A government officer drawing an initial salary Rs. 227,280 Annually (Rs. 18,940/- Monthly) on June 1, 2007 in a government department or a public officer holding an office created after that day with the same initial salary
(vii) An officer of a public corporation drawing an initial salary of Rs 246,300 annually (Rs. 20,525 monthly) on June 1, 2007 or a public corporation officer holding an office created after that day with the same initial salary.
(viii) An officer or servant of the relevant local authority, failing to terminate service in the local authority before one year from the date of electing members.
(ix) Public officers engaged in field activities in the contesting local authority area, who have not terminated the service at least one year before the calling of nominations
(x) A person holding a contract or agreement with the local authority concerned or a person drawing a commission from the local authority (pension or gratuity excluded)
(xi) Found or declared by law, to be of unsound mind.
(xii) A bankrupt  by law
(xiii) Serving a prison sentence for an offence punishable with imprisonment more than 12 months
(xiv) 5 years not lapsed after conviction for an offence under this Ordinance.
(xv) Declared disqualified by a Commission of Inquiry for an offence under section 05 of the Public Institutions (Prevention of Corruption) Act
(xvi) Convicted under the Prevention of Crimes Ordinance and serving a prison sentence of more than 3 months or 5 years have not lapsed after serving such prison term
(xvii) Name appears in more than one nomination paper
(xviii) Being disqualified for an offence under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council 1946
(xix) Disqualified in terms of the Article 91 (1) (g) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka
(xx) Persons removed from office under orders issued in terms of section 277 of the Municipal Council Ordinance, Section 184 of the Urban Councils Ordinance and Section 179 of the Pradeshiya Sabha Act are disqualified for 5 years after such removal.

 

WHAT ARE THE PROVISIONS MADE REGARDING DEPOSITS?

Rs. 1500/- per each candidate from political parties, and Rs. 5000/- per each candidate for independent groups

 

WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THE REJECTION OF NOMINATION PAPERS SUBMITTED BY RECOGNIZED POLITICAL PARTIES AND INDEPENDENT GROUPS?

Nomination paper of a political party is not signed by the secretary of the party, and the nomination paper of an independent group not signed by its leader

A Justice of the Peace should duly certify the signature of the Secretary of the Contesting political party and the signature of the contesting independent group in the nomination papers

Nomination paper of a recognized political party is not handed over by the Secretary or the Authorized Agent of the party. Nomination paper of an independent group is not handed over by the leader of the group

Total number of candidates not included in the nomination paper

Deposits have not been made to the total number of candidates

Required number of women candidate not included in the nomination paper

When signature of a candidate does not appear indicating the consent for nomination the nomination of that particular candidate is rejected. The whole nomination paper is not rejected due to this reason

When the oath under schedule 7 is not attached by a candidate his nomination is rejected. The whole nomination paper is not rejected due to this reason

When a certified copy of the birth certificate, or an affidavit to prove the date of birth of a youth candidate is not attached his nomination only is rejected

 

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE BALLOT PAPER?

Names of contesting political parties appear on the ballot paper in three languages in the Sinhala alphabetical order. Below that appear the independent groups and the numbers allocated to them.

The symbol allotted to political parties and independent group appear in the ballot paper. Voters can mark their vote with a cross in the empty cage printed in front of the symbol.

Candidates representing political parties and independent groups are made to known to the voter by the household notice distributed along with the official poll card. In addition to that the list of candidates of parties and groups are displayed in 3 languages in the polling station premises. This enables the voter to have an idea of the candidate of the party or group to whom he/ she is going to mark the vote

 

HOW ARE THE COUNTING CENTERS ESTABLISHED?

When there is only one polling station for one ward, votes are counted at the polling station. When there are more than one polling station for a ward the Returning Officer will decide at which polling station/ stations the vote is counted

 

HOW ARE THE MEMBERS SELECTED UNDER THIS ELECTORAL SYSTEM?

There are 4 main areas considered in this connection

(i)   Decision on members on the ward basis

(ii)  Decision on members on the multiple wards basis

(iii) Decision on member on the proportional basis

(iv)  Decision on women members

An example would help understand these situations

Eg. The Pradeshiya Sabha A mentioned above consists of 14 single member wards and 1 multimember ward. Let as imagine that three political parties X,Y and Z are contesting for the Pradeshiya Sabha.

 

Ward

No of registered Voters


Declared no of Votes (70%)

No of Votes Polled

Winning Seats

"X" Party

"Y" Party

"Z" Party

"X" Party

"Y" Party

"Z" Party

01

4,500

3,150

1,638

1,166

346

01

-

-

02

5,200

3,640

1,893

1,347

400

01

-

-

03

6,600

4,620

1,710

2,402

508

 -

01

-

04

5,000

3,500

1,820

1,295

385

01

-

-

05

6,000

4,200

1,554

2,184

462

 -

01

-

06

4,900

3,430

1,784

1,269

377

01

-

-

07

7,250

5,075

2,639

1,878

558

01

-

-

08

4,750

3,325

1,729

1,230

366

01

-

-

09

5,200

3,640

1,893

1,347

400

01

-

-

10

4,100

2,870

1,492

1,062

316

01

-

-

11

4,600

3,220

1,675

1,191

354

01

-

-

12

5,100

3,570

1,856

1,321

393

01

-

-

13

6,300

4,410

1,632

2,293

485

 -

01

-

14

4,200

2,940

1,529

1,087

323

01

-

-

15

Multi Member Wards

8,500

5,950

3,094

2,202

654

02

-

-

Total

    82,200

57,540

27,938

23,274

6,327

13

03

0

 

I) Selecting members on single member ward basis

The candidate of the party/ group which has polled the highest number of votes after counting votes of all counting centers for the ward, is elected as the member for the ward.

According to the above example the "X" party has won the single member wards 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and the candidates fielded by that party are elected as members of those wards. "Y" party has won the wards 3, 5 and 13 and the candidates of "Y party are elected as members of those wards. "Z" party has not won any of the single member wards and therefore no members is elected from the "Z" party.

 

II) Selection of member in multi-member wards

Two or three candidates of the political party or group which polls the highest number of votes in a multimember wards are elected as members of that multi members ward.

According to the above example "X" party has won the two multi-member ward No 15 and the two candidates fielded by  "X" party are elected as members for that multi-member ward.

 

III) Selection of members on the proportional basis

The total number of votes polled by all parties and groups are divided by the total number of members to be elected. The number resulting from such division is referred to as the qualifying number.

By Dividing the numbers of votes polled by each party and groups by this qualifying number, the numbers of members for each party and group are determined.

The numbers of members obtained by each party and group are deducted from the total numbers of members entitled to each party and group and the balance is the numbers of members to be selected from the proportional list.

If the balance of that party or group carries a minus value, that is, if the members elected on the ward basis exceed the numbers to be selected from the proportional list, then the number of members elected for the local authority is in excess (overhang)

According to the above example;

Total number of valid votes =  57540
Number of members to be elected =  26
Qualifying number =  57540 / 26
  = 2213 

 

Name of Party

Total Number polled

Qualifying number

Total number of members entitled

No of members on ward basis

No of members from proportional list

Total no of members

X

27938

2213

27938/2213

12.62

12

Balance 1382

13

13

00

13

Y

23274

2213

23274/2213

10.51

10

Balance 1144

10

03

07

10

Z

6327

2213

6327/2213

2.85

2

Balance 1901

03

00

03

03

* For the number of members entitled under this proportional list, even the members from the defeated ward can be appointed.

 

IV. Selection of women members

Numbers of votes polled by the parties and groups which have obtained below 20% of the total valid number of votes and numbers of votes polled by these who have obtained 3 member or below are set aside. The balance number of votes is devided by the minimum number of women members entitled (a number of members equal to 25%). The numbers polled by political parties and groups is divided by this resulting number. This gives the numbers of women members for each party and group.

Eg. According to the above example the percentage of votes obtained by each party and the number of seats allocated are as follows.

Party

No of votes polled

Total no of valid votes

Percentage of votes

No of seats won

X

27938

57540

48.55

13

Y

23274

57540

40.44

10

Z

6327

57540

10.99

03


Accordingly only the numbers of votes of "X" and "Y" parties are considered for women's representation

 

Total Number of Votes polled by X and Y parties ( 27938+23274)

=

51212

Number of member equal to 25% (26 / 4) 

=

6.5

Number of member equal to 25% (26 / 4)

=

7878.76

Number of women members to be appointed by X party (27938 / 7878.76)

 

=

 

3.5

( ignoring the fraction and taking the integer)

Number of women members to be appointed by "Y" party (23274 / 7878.76)

 

=

 

2.95

( ignoring the fraction and taking the integer)

 

SELECTION OF CHAIRMAN/ VICE CHAIRMAN AND MAYOR/ DEPUTY MAYOR

Party secretary or the leader of the group which has obtained more than 50% members can appoint members to these offices.

When no party or group has obtained more than 50% of members, these office bearers are elected by vote at the inaugural meeting of the local authority

 

HOW IS A VACANCY CREATED BY THE DEATH OF THE MEMBER, RESIGNATION OR BY ANY OTHER REASON, FILLED?

By elections are not conducted for this purpose as has been done in the past. The Party secretary has the authority to nominate a person to fill the vacancy.