Mayor-elect of Colombo Rosy Senanayake expressed her frustration at the failure of the political parties to ensure 25% mandatory female representation in Local Government bodies.
Addressing the Women’s Day event organized by the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority on February 28, Senanayake urged the Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya to make the necessary intervention in this regard.
“In the run up to the election, he was very firm in making sure that every political party contesting the election fulfills the 25% mandatory representation of women on their nominations lists. In fact, nomination papers presented by some parties were rejected as they did not meet the mandatory representation,” she explained, delivering the keynote speech at the event.
“But now,” Senanayake said, “political parties are reluctant to ensure the 25% representation in Local Government bodies. They are not ready to provide female candidates an opportunity. I have spoken to the Elections Commission Chairman many a time, in this regard. I have urged him to intervene,” she said.
“They are looking at every possible excuse to deprive female candidates of the opportunity to represent Local Government bodies. They are going through each and every clause to find a contradiction. This has to stop,” Senanayake stressed, adding that she could not see the newly elected members of the Local Government bodies taking oaths before the 10th of next month.
The Mayor-elect, however, commended Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for his initiative to introduce a mandatory female representation.
“We fought the good fight for a long time. If not for the Prime Minister, I must say, we would still be fighting the good fight,” she added, stating that the entire Parliament voted in favour of this new legislation.
Senanayake said women, who are the majority of the country’s population, should have a fair representation in every sector, at every level.
She also stressed for the need of more female participation in the tourism sector, especially in the hospitality industry.