Chandrika for women reservation in Sri Lankan Parliament



Colombo: Even as the women's reservation bill awaits clearance in India, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has strongly favoured reservation for women in the Island nation's Parliament, while contending that women by nature are more caring and better negotiators in matter of state and governance.

Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the whole world which has the lowest women representation in Parliament, she said while speaking on womens' role in politics and other matters here.

"We (Sri Lanka ) have only about 13 per cent representation (in Parliament) even at present and it was sort of similar even during my time and presidency also. I think it was slightly more 15-20 percent (during my time) It is not satisfactory", she said.

> Kumaratunga said the changes in the system for larger representation of women in Parliament and state legislatures could be done without an constitutional amendment by amending the election laws of the country.

Kumaratunga the fourth Executive President of Sri Lanka serving from November 1994 to November 2005, escaped a Tamil Tiger suicide bomb attack within yards of her car at an election rally in Colombo in 1999, losing one eye.

The former President said now that Sri Lanka was free of the LTTE problem it could get down to looking at these issues.

"Now the government can apply itself to bringing in a election law. They can amend the election law. They don't need to amend the constitution", she told a private TV channel esterday.

"And they (the government) of course have to change the election law to ensure. For example if you say 33 per cent (for women) then (it should be ensured that ) 33 per cent of the elected people are also women. The election law will have to be amended by that is not difficult", the former president said.

"There are so many urgent problems such as the ongoing war when we took over, besides the destruction of almost all important democratic values in the country", Kumaratunga said.

"Unfortunately, also the essential issues such as increasing the gender balance in favour of women and all that had to be pushed aside for a little while. But we did lots of other things for women", she said recalling her days as the president of the country.

"Women by nature are more caring obviously because they are made out to be by nature to be mothers and not the males. The mother nature is the caring nature of women. And women are also the mediators in their homes. Women will be more caring leaders. And certainly better negotiators perhaps in matters of state and governance", Kumaratunga said.

Bureau Report