The tenure of over 8000 local councillors elected on February 10 to 340 local government bodies had commenced yesterday and the date of the inaugural meeting was also decided by the Chairmen of the relevant bodies, Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government, Kamal Pathmasiri said.
The Chairmanship of the institution automatically goes to the political party that can secure over 51% or above seats and the appointment of chairpersons to councils where no party can obtain 51% or above will be decided by the local government commissioners.
Meanwhile complaints of space issues have not been reported to the ministry as predicted by some. Most local councillors had made the necessary structural changes to the hall where they meet.
“The space issue was grossly exaggerated. Unlike the parliament or the Provincial Councils the members are not separated into two camps, everyone is seated around the same round table. So in many places they had solved the space issue by bringing in smaller chairs or a bigger table,” a ministry official said.
Last week Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Faiszer Musthapha requested local councillors to manage with the existing infrastructure available to them and refrain from demanding extra resources.
The number of elected councillors has almost doubled, to 8356, under the new electoral system to accommodate the 25% female quota, to ensure that each ward had a representative who was responsible for that area and to also ensure that minor parties had representation.