Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa Acknowledges That the Veddah Community,Women,Youth and Differently Abled persons are Inadequately Represented in Parliament

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

While acknowledging that there is an issue with regard to the representation of certain groups such as the indigenous community (Veddas), women, youth, and the differently-abled in Parliament, the Election Commission (EC) stated that it is Parliament that should study the matter further and take steps to resolve the issue.

Speaking to The Morning, Election Commission Chairman Attorney-at-Law Nimal G. Punchihewa said that there is an issue with regard to the representation of groups such as the indigenous community, women, youth and the differently-abled in Parliament.

He also said that the Commission has pointed this out to the Parliamentary Select Committee that recently looked into appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system.

“The Election Commission is of the view that there should be a considerable representation of all groups including the indigenous community, women, youth and the differently-abled in Parliament. We have been pointing out the matter for a considerable time. However, it is Parliament that should study this further, take decisions, and implement them. We as the Election Commission can only point out that there is an issue,” he added.

Lamenting that there is no one to stand for the problems and welfare of his community, Vedda Chieftain Uruwarige Wannila Aththo recently said that the authorities should give an opportunity to someone representing the Vedda community to enter Parliament through the National List or to appoint a separate Ministry to look into the issues faced by them.

Speaking to the media, he said that although there are many parties to speak for other communities in the country, there is no one to represent the Vedda community. Therefore, he said that he had been proposing to several governments to appoint a separate Ministry to look into the issues and welfare of the Vedda community.

When queried by the media as to whether he believes that someone from the Vedda community should be given the opportunity to enter Parliament through the National List, Wannila Aththo said that he is of the belief that there should be such a form of representation. If those who are rejected by the people at an election enter Parliament through the National List, he said, the Vedda community also has a right to demand such an opportunity.

Courtesy:The Morning