Elections for Western and Southern PCs on March 29:
Political parties bracing for election campaigns
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya
Political parties had a difficult time selecting candidates as they
had to decide whether they were to select people considering popularity
or political maturity. However, in many instances political maturity
came to the fore as against popularity. Actress Gayesha Perera and
vocalist Judith White (Ginger) who were waiting with bated breath to
contest elections under the UPFA banner from the Colombo district were
disappointed as the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) decided not to give
nominations to them.
The SLFP gave priority to youth and professionals when finalising
nominations. According to the treasurer, Minister Dallas Alahapperuma 18
lawyers, four engineers, two doctors, seven artistes and nine from the
teaching profession including Principals and Educational Directors , a
single journalist and several youth were included the in their
The countdown to the crucial elections for the Western and Southern
Provincial Councils commenced on Thursday as Elections Commissioner
Mahinda Deshapriya fixed the elections date for March 29, after
nominations were closed at 12 noon on February 6, according to the
regulations stipulated in the Provincial Councils Act no 42, of 1987.
At the end of filing nominations, a total number of 3794 candidates
representing 23 recognised political parties and 42 Independents groups
were in the fray for the Southern and Western Provincial Council
Elections. The highest number of candidates (1247) are reported from the
Colombo district as 774 candidates from 18 political parties and 11
Independent Groups filed nominations. Four Independent Group nomination
lists were rejected from the Colombo district.
The second highest number of candidates were reported from the
Gampaha district with 13 political parties and nine Independent Groups
filed their nominations. A total of 550 candidates from 14 recognised
political parties and nine Independent Groups filed their nominations.
Accordingly 2743 candidates are contesting for the 102 seats in the
Western Provincial Council. Forty Members each from the Colombo and
Gampaha district and 20 members from the Kalutara district will be
elected to the Western Provincial Council from 4, 024, 623 registered
voters in the province.
A total of 450 candidates, representing 14 political parties and four
Independent Groups filed their nominations to contest from the Galle
district. There will be 380 candidates representing 14 political parties
and five Independent Groups to contest the election from the Matara
district. Two hundred and twenty one candidates from nine political
parties and four Independent Groups are contesting the election from the
Accordingly 1051 candidates will contest for the 53 seats in the
Southern Provincial Council. Out of it 20 Members will be elected from
the Galle district while 17 Members and 14 Members will be elected from
Matara and Hambantota districts A total of 1,873,804 voters in the
Southern Province are eligible to cast their vote at the election.
Therefore, the decision to elect 159 Members to the two Provincial
Councils now lies with 5,898, 427 registered voters in the two
The completion of the nomination process put an end to many rumours
and speculations about the the entry of popular figures to the politics
and leaving some of the popular figures who launched their election
campaigns much ahead of finalising the nominations with shattered hopes.
Actresses Geetha Kumarasinghe from Galle district and former
Provincial Councillor Anarkalee Akarsha from the Matara district will
contest the Southern Provincial Council elections under UPFA banner.
Apart from that actor Roger Seneviratne will also contest from the
Colombo district under UPFA banner.
Apart from them, actress Nadeesha Hemamali will contest the Southern
Provincial Council election from the Matara district from the United
National Party while actors Nalin Pradeep Uduwela and Jagath Benaragama
and Ravindra Yasas are expected to contest the election from the
Democratic Party for the Western Provincial Council from Colombo and
Journalists Susara Dinal will contest the elections under the UPFA
banner from the Gampaha district while journalist S.M. Marikkar is
contesting the election from the UNP for the Colombo district.
Journalists Ruwanthi Kariyawasam and Susil Kindelpitiya are also
contesting the elections from the Democratic Party for the Colombo
Malsha Kumaranatunga, Minister Jeewan Kumaranatunga's daughter and
Amitha Senal Welgama, Minister Kumara Welgama's son are also making
their entry into politics to contest the Western Provincial Council from
the Colombo and Kalutara districts under the UPFA banner.
But it was the entry of Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of the late
Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra which attracted media attention in the
Western Provincial Council nominations people consider her as being the
correct choice from the SLFP as she had a mature political outlook and
could represent the voice of the young generation in modern politics.
Deshaimana Nanayakkara, former Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara's son;
former Minister Rupa Karunathilake’s son Sanjeewa Karunathilake; former
Deputy Minister Noel Padmasiri Kariyawasam’s brother, ex-UPFA member and
now UNP candidate Ananda Padmasiri Kariyawasam are also contesting the
election from the UNP for the Southern Provincial Council.
Isuru Dodangoda, son of a former cabinet minister and Southern
Province chief Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda; Minister Piyasena Gamage’s
son Randima Gamage; the late MP Nanda Gunasinghe’s son Tisara Gunasinghe
are contesting the Southern Provincial Council election from the UPFA.
Many candidates kicked off their election campaigns holding pocket
meetings. Hirunika Premachandra kicked off her campaign from Summit
Flats in Colombo where she resides, with the blessings of religious
dignitaries and Ministers and senior politicians while many other
candidates also began their campaigns by holding pocket meetings.
According to UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha the
UPFA's election campaign will be carried out under the theme ‘Joy and
“We have informed candidates to commence their election campaigns at
individual level and to appoint committees for each polling station to
carry out election campaigns. They will hold pocket meetings and
distribute leaflets among voters“, he said.
“We are conducting the campaign as an Alliance by having a central
committee representing all constituent parties and having committees at
electorate level to carry out the election campaign at electorate
level”, the Minister said.
“The UPFA is expecting to conduct at least three rallies in each
electoral district during the latter part of the campaign”, the Minister
According to the UPFA nomination list former Chief Minister Prasanna
Ranathunga will head the UPFA candidates in the Gampaha district while
former Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila and former
Provincial Councillor Jagath Angage will head the UPFA candidates in the
Colombo and Kalutara districts respectively.
In the Southern Province the Galle district UPFA leader will be Shan
Wijelal De Silva - the former Chief Minister of the Southern Province.
The former Provincial Minister Chandima Rasaputra will be the leader
of the Matara district and the former Chairman of the Southern Province
Somawansa Kodagoda has been appointed as the UPFA leader for the
General Secretary of the United National Party, MP Tissa Attanayake
told the Sunday Observer that UNP is giving prominence to house to house
campaigns rather than having large scale elections rallies. “The UNP
election campaign is being planned by UNP Media Head MP Mangala
Samaraweera and the candidates were asked to conduct more pockets
meeting at electorate level to educate the people”, he added.
“We are conducting our campaign basically focusing on the corruption
of the government, heroin deals and cost of living issues affecting the
common masses of the country”, he said.
“We are also planning to have at least three major rallies in each
district in the two provinces in the run- up to the elections”, he
According to the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya they are
preparing for the conduct of elections in free and fair manner and are
expected to deploy 55,000 officials on election duties.
He said the Colombo district would have around 1,400 voting centres
while 1,315 centres in Gampaha district, 615 in Kalutara, 704 in Galle,
405 in Hambantota, and 440 in Matara.