Sri Lanka to hold nationwide local elections in March

Sri Lanka plans to hold a nationwide local elections in March, the first since the end of the ethnic conflict in the country, officials said on Saturday.

Last Updated: Jan 01, 2011, 23:27 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka plans to hold a
nationwide local elections in March, the first since the end
of the ethnic conflict in the country, officials said on Saturday.

Local government ministry extended the terms of all
local government bodies last year under the powers vested in
the minister.
The government has now decided to dissolve the local
government bodies just before the extended time periods ended
and will hope to have the election in mid- March, ruling party
officials said.

Around 300 municipal, urban and village councils,
except for a few local government bodies in North and East,
will face elections after a three-decade old war ended in May
2009.

Political analysts say the local election would be a
key test of the government`s popularity as President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has tightened his grip on power by winning a second
term in 2010 and following it up with a landslide win at April
parliamentary polls.
The ruling party headed by Rajapksha had wanted
earlier to conduct the local government election under a first
past the post system.

However, the government decided to conduct the polls
on the existing proportional representation system and shelved
plans to change its electoral system from proportional
representation to first-past-the-post at least for some time.

PTI