Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) bill was passed with a majority of 122 votes in parliament yesterday.
The bill received 159 votes in favour and 37 votes against.
The TNA, JVP and SLMC voted with the government.
The Bill seeks to amend the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988 to make it binding on all political parties and independent groups to field at least 30 per cent female candidates in Provincial Council elections.
Speaker Karu Jayrasuriya earlier in the day announcing the opinion of the Attorney General on the bill stated that some sections of the bill needed two third majority of parliament to become law.
Later in the evening he stated that the voting time had been postponed. Responding to a question raised by NFF leader MP Wimal Weerawansa, the Speaker said that the voting time had been postponed till the end of the debate without mentioning any specific time.
The Joint Opposition MPs demanded that a vote be taken. As the situation turned chaotic Speaker Jayasuriya suspended the sittings for 15 minutes around 7.15 pm.
When the sittings resumed around 7.55 the Speaker expressed his regret over the delay in moving the House for vote. “I had to state that actions of this nature would inconvenience not the minister who is putting forward the bill but the person who holds the position of Speaker.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he had met representatives of the SLMC and Upcountry People’s Front and listened to their views. The government was ready to accommodate the grievances of minority and minor parties.
At the end of the second reading debate UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena called for a division on the bill. The bill received 157 votes for and 44 votes against while one abstained from voting.
When the third reading vote was taken the bill received 159 votes for an 37 votes against.