Lo­cal coun­cil polls in Jan­uary

Vot­ers to be ed­u­cated on how to vote in multi-mem­ber wards

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - By An­thony David

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion has set in mo­tion the of­fi­cial ma­chin­ery for lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions in Jan­uary next year.

Elec­tions Com­mis­sion Chair­man Mahinda De­shapriya told the Sun­day Times that an es­ti­mated 15.6 mil­lion peo­ple would be el­i­gi­ble to cast their votes to elect mem­bers for 335 Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cils, Ur­ban Coun­cils and Pradeshiya Sab­has.

Mr De­shapriya said that be­sides train­ing ses­sions for elec­tion staff and state ser­vice of­fi­cers, “we have to un­der­take an­other im­por­tant task – to ed­u­cate the pub­lic on the set­ting up of multi-mem­ber wards.”

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He said the Com­mis­sion was now in touch with the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Provin­cial Coun­cils to for­mally ob­tain the rea­sons be­hind th­ese multi-mem­ber wards. He said it would be much the same as the multi-mem­ber con­stituen­cies that ex­isted be­fore and gave the voter an op­por­tu­nity to se­lect dif­fer­ent mem­bers from dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties as their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Elec­tion of­fi­cials said that of the 4,900 wards coun­try­wide de­mar­cated for dif­fer­ent lo­cal gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, 165 will have two mem­bers each. A fur­ther four wards will have three mem­bers each. Thus, they said, 330 mem­bers and 12 mem­bers will be picked from th­ese two types of multi-mem­ber wards.

Polling booths will also carry boards to ed­u­cate the voter that they were vot­ing in a multi-mem­ber ward.

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