Sri Lanka to include 25 pct women in local government elections

Sep 30, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister says reforms will be brought to include 25 percent females into local government bodies before the next polls, local media reports said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made these comments at the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the elections department in Colombo, Wednesday, it said.

The statement comes following European election observers saying that the island had an extremely low number of female candidates participating in the general election held in August 2015.

They said even though the main parties adopted a gender policy in their manifestos, including the promotion of women’s development and social welfare, the general election 2015 had only nine percent female representation with 556 out of 6,151 candidates.

According to latest data the percentage of women in the last parliament was 5.8 percent, the lowest rate of representation in parliament for women among South Asian Countries.

Sri Lanka ranks 140 out of 153 countries in female representation in Parliament.

Meanwhile ahead the recent August polls the islands Women’s Affairs Ministry also called on all political parties to allocate one third of their seats in the new parliament for women.

Issuing a statement before the General Election the Ministry urged political parties to ensure that at least 30 percent of candidates they nominate for election are women.

The Ministry also requested political parties to allocate one third of seats for women even in the National List.