The Ninth Parliamentary Election of Sri Lanka in 2020


The Ninth Parliamentary Election of Sri Lanka in 2020: An Analysis of the Outcomes
Krishnamohan Thanabalasingam & Sathiyasegar Kandasamy

Professor in Political Science Eastern University, Sri Lanka,
krishnamohant@esn.ac.lk
Sathiyasegar Kandasamy
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Anthropology
Eastern University, Sri Lanka,
Sri Lanka
sathiyasegar@gmail.com
DOI: 10.29322/IJSRP.10.10.2020.p10659
http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.10.10.2020.p10659
Abstract— The Sinhala Buddhists, who are the majority in Sri Lanka, helped the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) win an absolute majority in the ninth general election of Sri Lanka. The SLPP always wishes to exceed expectations and the president, who also belongs to the SLPP, claimed that the party’s performance in the general
election was better than what they had anticipated. The
United National Party (UNP), led by the former Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, suffered the worst
electoral defeat in their history as they managed to win
only one seat, that too through the national list. Ranil
Wickremesinghe also recorded his first defeat in an
electoral battlefield. The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB),
led by Sajith Premadasa, that broke away from the UNP,
managed to gain 54 seats and emerged as the secondlargest alliance in the island. The Tamil National Alliance
(TNA), which used to enjoy the support of the majority in
the North and East of Sri Lanka, suffered a huge setback
as they ended up with only 10 seats, 6 less than what they
had won in the previous general election. The SLPP
managed to win approximately 59% of the popular vote
while the SJB won almost 24% of the votes, becoming the
second most popular party in the island ahead of the
veteran parties like the UNP and TNA.
Key Words— Constitution, Election, Parliament, Women,
Minorities
I. INTRODUCTION
Even though 16 million Sri Lankans were registered to vote to
elect the members of Sri Lanka’s ninth parliament, the
election campaign was mostly affected by the COVID-19
pandemic. According to the voters’ list of 2018, nearly 84% of
the registered voters polled their votes in the last November
2019 Presidential election. Considering the voters’ list of
2019, total registered voters’ numbers were 16,263,885. But
the polled votes fell to 12,343,308 (75.89%) due to the public
health issue. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)
contested against a weakened opposition party in the
parliament election. Even though the parliamentary election
was delayed twice due to the COVID-19, SLPP got 2/3
majority in the parliament with the help of other supporting
parties. The SLPP was expecting to get the two-thirds majority
(150 seats) in the parliament without other parties’ support.
But they were able to gain only 145 seats in the parliament.
The parliamentary elections results may be seen as an
indicator of its future political direction and help to increase
the potential executive president’s power. With obstacles from
the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the election
commission tried to make sure that polling was free, fair, and
safe for all. Due to the inability of foreign election monitors to
travel to the country due to the COVID-19 related restrictions
in place, the election was monitored by local personnel.
Therefore, this research article is focused on examining the
following crucial problems:

  1. Did the SLPP record a historic victory by gaining a
    total of 6.8 million Sinhalese cast votes (59% of the
    valid votes) in the ninth parliamentary election?
  2. Why did UNP-led United National Front for Good
    Governance secured 5.0 million votes in the 2015
    General election but in the last parliament election,
    just secured only 249,435 votes?
  3. How to evaluate the political status of minority
    parties in the ninth parliamentary election?
  4. What, in the future, necessary strategies should be
    developed to ensure maximum security to the
    women’s political participation?
    This research paper consists of two parts. The first part of the
    research paper analyzes the parliament election results and
    SLPP’s decisive victory. The second part of the research paper
    analyzes the minority political parties’ status and women’s
    political participation. This research was done qualitatively
    and involved analysis of the content of the events. The content
    analysis generally involved closely examining the text of
    documents and the words of politicians and political analysts.
    The data collected regarding the criticisms of the political
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    parties’ manifesto of Sri Lanka on online literature, political
    leaders’ speech, past election statistics, and research books
    have been used to write this research article.
    II. THEORY
    The primary norm of proportional representation (PR) is,
    every group of the society would secure their representation in
    the parliament, in proportion to their population. Different
    communities, who otherwise will go without representation,
    will get representation according to their strength in numbers.
    The main purpose of the PR system is to safeguard a
    representative assembly reflecting the statistical exactness of
    the various divisions in the constituency. Eminent political
    thinker J.S Mill supported the PR system (Agarwal, R.C,
    1976). He says that a parliament must represent, all the
    divisions of the constituency and no minority should go
    without any representation in the parliament. The parliament
    is compared to maps. One cannot draw a map of a country
    ignoring any part of the area of the country. All the areas of
    the country should be represented in the map. Similarly, all the
    areas of the constituency should be represented in the
    parliament. The PR system has two methods. One is the Hare
    system and the other one is the List system. Hare systems is
    also known by other names such as preferential system or the
    single transferable vote system. The voters exercise many
    votes as there are several candidates and indicates their
    preferences of the candidates for whom they vote. In the list
    system candidates are grouped into lists, with each party
    representing a separate list. A voter casts vote for a list. Every
    party offers a list of its candidates up to the number of seats to
    be filled from each constituency. A voter cast vote for the list
    she/he likes. She/he may cast vote either for one candidate on
    the list or may distribute all his votes to the different
    candidates on the same list. But she/he cannot cast more than
    one vote to any candidates. This system gives the opportunity
    of representation to all parties, big or small, and confirms that
    the parliament mirrors the view of all the people (Agarwal,
    R.C, 1976). Under this system, even a minor or numerically
    small group of people may send a representative if they can
    organize themselves to cast the votes in favour of a candidate.
    In the same way, even a small party can get the number of its
    members elected with the help of constituencies of a district in
    which it is popular. PR satisfies its aim by giving equal
    chances to the minority.
    The aim of the PR system allocates seats in the legislature
    according to the casted number of votes to the political parties
    or independent groups. Let’s consider this scenario as an
    example. Based on the constituency, five seats are allowed
    from a certain district or area. A party polling three fifth of the
    total casting votes by the voters in that constituency will return
    three out of five seats. Another party polling two fifth of the
    total cast votes will return two seats. The party composition of
    the legislature reflects the party preference of the electorate
    with a considerable degree of accuracy in the electorate. For
    example, hypothetical table 1 shows a legislature with five
    seats with 200,000 voters in an electorate.
    TABLE I
    HYPOTHETICAL TABLE
    Party Votes Seats in the Body
    Casted
    Votes
    Percentage Number
    of Returned
    Percentage
    A 120,00
    0
    60% 3 60%
    B 80,000 40% 2 40%
    Total 200,00
    0
    100% 5 100%
    III. DISSOLVING the PARLIAMENT and COVID -19
    The President can dissolve the parliament four and a half
    (4-1 / 2) years after the commencement of the term of office of
    a parliament of Sri Lanka. The power to dissolve parliament is
    vested in the President by Article 70 (10) and section (2) (e) of
    the constitution. Therefore, following these provisions, and
    per the provisions of section 10 of the parliamentary elections
    Act No. 1 of 1981, the President of the Democratic Socialist
    Republic of Sri Lanka, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, dissolved the
    parliament at midnight on March 2, 2020, and announced the
    election for a new parliament will be held on April 25. He also
    called on the new parliament to begin its session on May 14,
    2020 (The Gazette of The Democratic Socialist Republic of
    Sri Lanka, Extraordinary, No. 2165/8 – Monday, March 02,
    2020).
    During this period, the COVID-19 pandemic began to
    spread in Sri Lanka. On March 19, Election Commission
    announced that the parliamentary elections would be
    postponed indefinitely, referring to instructions from the
    Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) that the
    country’s health and medical conditions were in jeopardy.
    Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka, the
    government was stubborn that elections should be held on
    April 25 as planned. Against the government move, the
    Election Commission banned political parties from holding
    election rallies, mass meetings, and campaigns. However,
    during a video conference with SAARC heads of state, Sri
    Lankan president Gotabhaya Rajapakse reaffirmed that the
    parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.
    Ignoring the president’s urgency and focus on holding the
    parliamentary elections as planned, the Election Commission
    of Sri Lanka postponed the parliamentary elections until June
    20, using its powers. The Election Commission also wrote a
    letter to the president on April 3, asking the president to seek
    the advice from the Supreme Court on announcing a new date
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    considering the constitution, and the health and medical
    conditions of the country.
    The President’s office had no intention of seeking advice
    from the Supreme Court on holding parliamentary elections.
    On April 9, the secretary to the president responded in writing
    that it was the duty of the Election Commission to abandon its
    warning of a constitutional crisis and hold parliamentary
    elections. Finally, the parliamentary elections were not held on
    April 25 amid the spreading COVID -19 pandemic. And the
    Election Commission decided to postpone the general election
    until June 20. On May 28, one of the members of the Election
    Commission expressed his view opposing the holding of the
    election under the influence of the government. This was
    again seen as a matter of crisis between the president and the
    constitution and was considered a fundamental rights issue
    and turned into a matter for the Supreme Court.
    As a challenge to the Gazette notice, the newspaper editor
    Victor Ivan and seven others on 5th May 2020, Samagi Jana
    Balawegaya and Champika Ranawaka of Jathika Hela
    Urumaya on 6th May 2020, Kumara Welgama of New Sri
    Lanka Freedom Party on 9th May, filed a fundamental rights
    in the Supreme court (Colombo Page News Desk, Jun 2,
    2020).
    The petition stated, holding parliamentary elections on
    June 20 is against the provisions of the constitution. The
    petitioners also contended that the president’s gazette
    notification on dissolving the parliament was invalid as the
    new parliament could not be convened within three months of
    its dissolution. Moreover, the petitioners have observed that
    free and fair elections cannot be held in the context of the
    COVID -19 crisis as the pandemic has not yet been brought
    under control. The health-related risk will seriously hamper
    the campaign efforts and they needed free and fair elections.
    The petitioners, therefore, asked the Supreme Court to give a
    verdict that the fundamental rights of the people are being
    violated by holding elections before the conclusion of the
    COVID -19-virus pandemic.
    A five-member panel of the Supreme Court judges began
    the hearings on May 18th to determine whether all the seven
    petitions filed against the general election scheduled for June
    20 should be taken up for the hearing or not. After a ten-days
    hearing, the five Supreme Court judges unanimously
    dismissed the case, saying the petitions would not be heard.
    Following this, the Election Commission announced August
    5
    th, 2020, as the new date for holding parliamentary elections
    (Colombo Page News Desk, Jun 2, 2020).
    IV. ELECTORAL SYSTEM of the PARLIAMENT ELECTION of
    SRI LANKA
    The electoral system operates at three levels such as
    national, provincial, and local in Sri Lanka. For administrative
    purposes, the country has been divided into 25 administrative
    districts. Article 96 (1) says that to hold elections, the country
    can be divided into not less than twenty and not more than
    twenty-five electoral districts. According to Article 96 (1) &
    (2), the country has been divided into 22 electoral districts for
    electoral purposes, of these 20 electoral districts have coboundary with the 25 electoral districts. According to Article
    96 (3), an electoral district namely Vanni has been formed by
    the Delimitation Commission who combined three
    administrative districts, namely, Mullaitivu, Mannar, and
    Vavuniya. The same way other an electoral district namely
    Jaffna has been formed by the Delimitation Commission who
    combined two administrative districts such as Jaffna and
    Kilinochchi. The above 22 electoral districts have been
    divided into 160 polling divisions. Article 94 (4) says that the
    electoral districts of each province shall be altogether entitled
    to elect four (4) members. Article 98 (1) says that the 22
    electoral districts shall together be entitled to elect one
    hundred and ninety-six (196) members for the parliament. In
    this way, 160 parliament members shall be elected by 160
    poling divisions from 22 electoral districts and besides based
    on Article 98 (2), each electoral district shall elect thirty-six
    (36) parliament members (The Constitution of the Democratic
    Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,2015).
    Thus, the country is divided into 22 electoral districts for
    parliamentary elections and each of these districts becomes a
    constituency. According to Article 98 (4), the total number of
    electors whose names appear in the registers of electors of all
    the electoral districts shall be divided into one hundred and
    sixty. The whole number, resulting from dividing numbers
    (any fraction numbers not being considered) is hereinafter
    referred to as the “qualifying number”.
    According to the constitution, any person qualified to be a
    voter is qualified to be elected as a member of parliament. The
    parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka are held on the PR
    system. The number of members of parliament to be elected
    from each constituency is determined on a formula based on
    the total number of voters in the country. A political party or
    an independent group expecting to contest a constituency
    should submit a list of names of candidates. Such a list should
    contain three names more than the number of members to be
    elected. A voter is entitled to one vote which must be cast for
    the political party or the independent group of her/his choice.
    She/he is also entitled to mark up to three preferences against
    the names of three candidates of the political party or the
    independent group he votes for. The number of members
    elected from a political party or an independent group at an
    election is determined based on the votes received by the
    political party or group in the entire electorate.
    196 candidates were elected from twenty-two electoral
    district in the nine electoral provinces. Each electoral district
    consists of different numbers of members based on the
    population of voters like it show below (Daily FT,
    Wednesday, 5 August 2020 03:43).
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    TABLE II
    COMPOSITION of MEMBERS in the 9TH PARLIAMENT-2020
    Source: 5
    th August 2020 Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections, Election Commission
    V. NINTH PARLIAMENT of SRI LANKA
    The Election Commission announced on August 5
    th
    , 2020,
    as the new date for holding parliamentary elections. In the
    2020 parliamentary election, almost 16 million voters casted
    their votes in 22 electoral districts, 7452 candidates contested
    from recognized political parties, and independent groups.
    Amongst, those 3652 candidates were from recognized
    political parties and 3800 candidates were from independent
    groups. A total of 313 independent groups contested in the
    2020 parliamentary election. Among the 7452 candidates, 196
    candidates were elected as parliamentarians out of 225 at the
    district level under the PR system. And the rest of the 29
    members were nominated through the national list under the
    1978 constitution (Daily FT, Wednesday, 5 August 2020
    03:43). It shows in the table:3 below.
    TABLE III
    9
    TH PARLIAMENT ELECTION ACTIVITIES- AUGUST 5, 2020
    Description Amount
    Total Parliament MPs 225
    Elected Members 196
    National List Members 29
    No. of Candidates 7,452
    No of Eligible Voters 16,263,885
    Electoral District 22
    Polling Stations 12,985
    Policemen on Election Duty 82,000
    Health Service on Election Duty 8,000
    Source: Daily FT, Wednesday, 5 August 2020
    Even though in the 2015 parliamentary election more
    political parties and independent groups contested, only six
    S.
    No
    Electoral
    Provinces
    Electoral District Elected
    Candidates in
    the District
    Level
    Elected
    Members in the
    Provincial Level
    Contested
    Candidates
    1 Western Colombo 19
    47
    924
    Gampaha 18 693
    Kalutara 10 312
    2 Central Kandy 12
    25
    435
    Nuwara Eliya 08 275
    Matale 05 184
    3 Southern Galle 09
    23
    312
    Matara 07 200
    Hambantota 07 190
    4 North-West Kurunegala 15
    23
    396
    Puttalam 08 352
    5 Sabaragamuwa Ratnapura 11
    20
    308
    Kegalle 09 228
    6 Eastern Digamadulla 07
    16
    540
    Batticaloa 05 304
    Trincomalee 04 189
    7 North -Central Anuradhapura 09
    14
    264
    Polonnaruwa 05 152
    8 Uva Badulla 09
    15
    288
    Monaragala 06 171
    9 Northern Jaffna 07
    13
    330
    Vanni 06 405
    Total 196 196 7452
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    political parties were able to represent their members in the
    parliament (General Election, 2015). They are the United
    National Party (UNP), the United People’s Freedom Alliance
    (UPFA), the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), the
    People’s Liberation Front (JVP), the Sri Lanka Muslim
    Congress (SLMC) and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party
    (EPDP)
    But in the parliamentary elections held on August 5, 2020,
    fifteen political parties fielded their members in the parliament
    (General Election, 2015). The SLPP gained most of the seats
    at the parliamentary general election in 2020. Other political
    parties to obtain seats in parliament general election were the
    Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi
    (ITAK), Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB), Eelam People’s
    Democratic Party (EPDP), Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress
    (AITC), Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), Sri
    Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Muslim National Alliance
    (MNA), Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK), All Ceylon
    Makkal Congress (ACMC), National Congress (NC), Sri
    Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), United National Party
    (UNP) and the Our Power of People Party (OPPP). Given
    below is a table showing the distribution of seats for each
    political party (Parliament of Sri Lanka, Monday, August 10,
    2020)
    Source: Parliament of Sri Lanka, Monday, August 10, 2020
    The SLPP recorded a historic victory with 145 seats
    through gaining a total of 6.8 million cast votes with 59% of
    the valid votes in the ninth parliamentary election. The SLPP
    secured 6.9 million votes in the November 2019 presidential
    election but in the last parliament election, just about one
    hundred thousand votes were lost due to various political
    scenarios. Like the parliamentary election victory back in
    2010, after ending the civil war with LTTE, the SLPP’s
    performance in the 2020 parliament election was very
    impressive in many ways.
    The election results show that the SLPP’s landslide victory
    was recorded mostly with Sinhalese votes. Except for
    Sathasivam Viyalendiran in the Batticaloa district, Jeevan
    Thondaman, and M. Rameshwaran in the Nuwara Eliya
    district and Kader Mastan in the Vanni district, all the other
    SLPP candidates were elected by the Sinhalese votes in Sri
    Lanka. Therefore, it can be argued that out of the 145 seats
    won by SLPP, 141 seats were won with Sinhala voters. SLPP
    has created a government of the Sinhalese without the support
    of the minority people, who were considered as kingmakers of
    the previous government. As diplomatically, SLPP succeeded
    in carrying out anti-minority propaganda among the majority
    TABLE IV
    VOTES, SEATS & NATIONAL LIST BY PARTY – ALL ISLAND 2020
    S.No
    Party Votes % Elected Seats
    National
    List Total Seats
    1
    SLPP 6,853,690 59.09 128 17 145
    2
    SJB 2,771,980 23.90 47 7 54
    3
    ITAK 327,168 2.82 9 1 10
    4
    JJB 445,958 3.84 2 1 3
    5
    AITC 67,766 0.58 1 1 2
    6
    EPDP 61,464 0.53 2 0 2
    7
    UNP 249,435 2.15 0 1 1
    8
    OPPP 67,758 0.58 0 1 1
    9 TMV
    P 67,692 0.58 1 0 1
    10
    SLFP 66,579 0.57 1 0 1
    11
    MNA 55,981 0.48 1 0 1
    12 TMT
    K 51,301 0.44 1 0 1
    13 ACM
    C 43,310 0.37 1 0 1
    14
    NC 39,272 0.34 1 0 1
    15 SLM
    C 34,428 0.39 1 0 1
    Total 196 29 225
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    Sinhalese population. The SLPP then appointed three Muslim
    MPs and one Tamil MP as members of parliament while
    appointing the members of the national list. It is an attempt to
    provide a small relief to the mental anguish caused to the
    minority people during the campaign and to spread the
    message that a government has been established that will
    incorporate and rule all the people of the country.
    The ninth parliament election result in Sri Lanka has once
    more confirmed that Mahinda Rajapaksa is the preferred
    Sinhala Buddhist leader by the majority of people. And 2019
    Presidential election results have made Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
    who is the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksha, as the
    most powerful president of the country. Kusal Perera, a
    veteran political analyst, writer, and a strong critic of
    governments, said: “Yes, Sri Lanka has been gradually turning
    into a majoritarian country… That is what is guaranteed in
    these two elections – November’s Presidential victory and this
    Parliamentary result” (Indian Express, August 9, 2020,
    10:33:48 am). The poll results indicated nothing but the fact
    that Sri Lankan people wanted a strongly Sinhala Buddhist
    leader. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the most popular leader;
    Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the most powerful leader. They have
    big challenges in front of them without provoking racism,
    should plan and go forward with suitable developmentoriented policies, without discriminating the Sri Lankans.
    Gotabaya Rajapaksa has foreign exposure and knowledge, he
    knows that development-oriented policies alone will save the
    country and he is working towards that, to improve the
    economy.
    An equally important scenario of the 2020 general election
    has been the downfall of the UNP. The UNP is the largest and
    liberal party in the history of Sri Lanka. Since the party was
    founded by the first prime minister of Sri Lanka’s D.S.
    Senanayake on 6 September 1946. It has come to power for 36
    times in the 72 years of the post-independence of Sri Lanka.
    The UNP has a noble history as it has made six heads of
    government. They are, namely, D.S. Senanayake, Dudley
    Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawala, J.R. Jayewardene,
    Ranasinghe Premadasa, and D.B. Wijetunga. (Presidential
    Secretariat,2020). However, Ranasinghe Premadasa was the
    last elected head of government from the UNP, he was
    assassinated by the LTTE in May 1993. In the last parliament
    election, there was a split between the two leaders and
    contesting separately, with former Prime Minister Ranil
    Wickremasinghe led the UNP, and Sajith Premadasa led the
    breakaway faction, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB). UNP
    leader Ranil Wickremasinghe met the first historical letdown
    in his political career in last parliament election. UNP secured
    only 249,435 votes or 2.15 % of the total valid votes. They
    could not gain one seat in the parliament too. They gained only
    one national list seat in the parliament. While UNP lost all its
    seats, its substitute party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB)
    alliance gained reasonable seats in the parliament. It was led
    by Sajith Premadasa, who is the son of the former president
    Premadasa who was the leader of the UNP. The SJB came in a
    second winner and Sajith Premadasa secured the status of the
    opposition party leader in the ninth parliament. The SJB
    secured 24% of the popular vote and 54 parliamentary seats
    including seven national list seats. It is noted that in the 2010
    parliamentary election, UNP’s got 29% of the popular vote and
    60 parliament seats. Two SJB partner parties, the SLMC, and
    the ACMC secured a seat each under their flag, which made an
    effective opposition with 56 members of parliament.
    VI. WOMEN REPRESENTATION
    Women comprise over 50% of the total population in Sri
    Lanka. Although, when it comes to political participation at
    the local and national levels, the number of women politicians
    is at a very minimal level in the country. Sri Lanka enjoyed
    electing the world’s first woman prime minister who served
    three terms in that capacity and her daughter Chandrika
    Bandaranaike Kumaratunga served as a president for two
    consecutive terms. After that Sri Lanka has not witnessed any
    notable progress in women’s participation in politics.
    When taking into consideration women’s representation in
    the 2020 parliament election, there were nearly 59 women
    representatives who received nominations from various
    political parties to contest in the parliamentary election 2020,
    but only eight (8) candidates won the election. Also, four (4)
    women selected to the parliament, as national lists members,
    where two representatives from SLPP, one from SJB, and one
    from Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB). Altogether, twelve (12)
    women were selected as a member of parliament out of 225 in
    the 9th parliament (News wire,14.08.2020). It shows the
    table:5 below.
    TABLE V
    WOMEN IN THE 9TH PARLIAMENT
    Source: The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
    Extraordinary, No. 2187/26
    According to the web site of the women’s national
    parliament archive, in 2018, Pakistan secured 20.2% women
    representation in the lower house and 19.2% in the upper
    house. In 2018, Bangladesh secured 20.7% of women’s
    representation in parliament. In 2017 Nepal secured 32.7% of
    women representation in the lower house and 37.3 % in the
    upper house. In 2014, India secured 12.6% women
    Party District Name
    SLPP
    Ratnapura Pavithra Wanniarachchi
    Muditha Soyza
    SJB Thalatha Athukorale
    SLPP Kegalle Rajika Wickremesinghe
    SLPP Gampaha Sudharshani Fernandopille
    Kokila Gunawardene
    Galle Geetha Kumarasinghe
    SJB Matale Rohini Kaviratne
    SLPP
    National List Seetha Arambepola
    Manjula Dissanayake
    SJB Diana Gamage
    JJB Harini Amarasuriya
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    representation in the lower house and 11.5% in the upper
    house (Women in national parliaments,2019).
    While compared South Asia with Sri Lanka’s experience,
    from 1994 to 2020, it indicated that women’s participation in
    Sri Lanka is at a very minimal level. The below chart indicates
    that the reality of Sri Lanka’s women’s political participation in
    the last thirty years. The women activists’ concern is that
    women’s representation in the parliament increased only so far
    5.3% in the history of Sri Lanka (Parliament of Sri Lanka,
    Lady Members). It is shown in the figure I below.
    FIGURE I
    WOMEN REPRESENTATION IN THE PARLIAMENT FROM1994
    TO 2025
    Source: Parliament of Sri Lanka, Lady Members
    Forty-eight (48) members have been elected to the
    parliament on behalf of the minority people in the recent
    parliamentary elections in 2020. Twenty-eight of them (28)
    represent the Tamil people from different parts of the country
    on behalf of different political parties and of the twenty-eight
    members, twenty-five members have been elected from
    deferent districts. The other three members were selected
    through the respective political party’s national list (The
    Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
    Extraordinary, No. 2187/26). It is shown in the table VI below.
    TABLE VI
    TAMIL MEMBERS in the 9
    TH PARLIAMENT ELECTION 2020
    Source: The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Extraordinary, No. 2187/26
    VII. TAMIL and MUSLIMS MEMBERS in the 9
    TH PARLIAMENT
    In the year 2001, the Tamil United Liberation Front
    (TULF) prominent leaders formed a new political wing, which
    is named as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), with uniting
    all other moderate Tamil political parties and some ex-militant
    groups. It contested in the parliamentary election held on 5th
    December 2001 under the TULF symbol and secured 3.89 %
    (348,164) votes won 15 seats in the North and Eastern
    Province.
    At present, three political parties like ITAK, PLOTE, and
    TELO came under one umbrella in the name of TNA. In the
    last general election for the 9th parliament, TNA suffered a
    setback in the north and east, they secured only 325,168 votes
    and gained nine seats. Out of nine seats, ITAK won five seats
    including two seats from Jaffna, one seat from Vanni,
    Batticaloa, and Trincomalee district. In the other four seats,
    the TELO won two seats from Vanni and one seat from
    Batticaloa, and the PLOTE won the one seat from Jaffna
    District and but no candidate was nominated in the Batticaloa
    district representing PLOTE. But the ex-candidate of the
    PLOTE contested for SLPP and won the seat in the Batticaloa
    district. Now he is a State Minister of Postal Services and
    Professional Development of Journalists in the SLPP
    Government (The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist
    Republic of Sri Lanka, Extraordinary, No. 2187/26).
    Comparing with the previous election, we can say, that the
    TNA’s best election period was in 2004 of the parliamentary
    election, they secured 6.84% of the popular votes (633,654)
    and secured 22 seats. Furthermore, following election periods,
    they secured 2.90% (233,190) votes and 14 seats in 2010,
    4.62% (515,963) votes and 16 seats in 2015 and 2.82%
    (327,168) votes and 10 seats in 2020.
    Twenty (20) represent the Muslim people from different
    parts of the country on behalf of different political parties and
    of the 20 members, sixteen members have been elected
    deferent district. The other four members were selected
    through the respective political party’s national list (The Gazette
    Methods ITAK SJB SLFP EPDP AITC TMVP TMTK SLPP Total
    Elected 9 7 1 2 1 1 1 3 25
    National List 1 1 1 03
    Total 28
    International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 10, Issue 10, October 2020 441
    ISSN 2250-3153
    This publication is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.10.10.2020.p10659 www.ijsrp.org
    of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Extraordinary, No.
    2187/26). It is shown in the table VII below.
    TABLE VII
    MUSLIMS MEMBERS in the 9
    TH PARLIAMENT ELECTION 2020
    Methods SJB SLPP NC ACMC SLMC MNA Total
    Elected 11 1 1 1 1 1 16
    National
    List
    1 3 04
    Total 20
    Source: The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
    Extraordinary, No. 2187/26
    I. CONCLUSION
    The outcome of the election will make a significant impact
    on the constitutional amendment. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was
    elected as president in late 2019. Following the 2019 April
    21st Easter attack, he has led a national security and pronationalism campaign camp. Through this, he was beloved by
    Sinhalese ethnic majority though he could not gain the
    favoritism from Tamil ethnic and Muslim religious minorities.
    The SLPP now has sustained a strong position in the
    parliament. Its victory affirmed that the president’s nationalist
    agenda and encouraged many of his policy positions. The
    objective of the party, to gain a two-thirds majority in the
    parliament. The two-third majority, which is the need for
    SLPP’s governance to amend the country’s political structure.
    specifically, by repealing the constitution’s 19th Amendment,
    to increase presidential powers relative to parliament and the
    judiciary. The SLPP is in a clear stand in their plans to amend
    the 19th Amendment.
    The people of Sri Lanka have strong political party
    affiliations. Based on that, people had voted their preferred
    political party in the last general election. But all of them,
    have a dual role in the general election, one is to give the party
    loyalty, and another one is to be an independent voter. But
    people failed to reject the candidates with the records of
    serious crime, financial fraud, inability, selfish and abused
    power while holding the public office in the last general
    election. In the year 2009, the 30-year armed struggle came to
    end. But yet, the issues that contributed to this civil war has
    been not resolved. For the resolving issues, the previous
    governments had appointed many commissions and expert
    committees. The previous governments supported
    arrangements for power-sharing and gave public assurances in
    this regard. On the perspective of Sri Lankan minorities, the
    people of Sri Lanka voted for the candidates who are yet to
    understand the need for diversity in the society and to the
    governance that promotes violence and discrimination against
    minority communities.
    But all ethnic groups of Sri Lanka have indeed voted for a
    government that gives importance to the Economic
    Development. Even the Tamil ethnic minority have given their
    importance to Economy development along with their ethnic
    rights.
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    III. Dieter, Nohlen,1976, Election and Electoral
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    View publication stats
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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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