Re: The National List Parliamentary Seat of the National People’s Power
Posted on August 16th, 2020

Progressive Women’s Collective

The Progressive Women’s Collective (PWC) is delighted with the announcement that theNational List parliamentary seatof the National People’s Power (NPP) has been offered to, and accepted by, Dr. Harini Amarasuriya. Dr. Amarasuriya is an extremely accomplished activist and educator, and we are thrilled that such an active advocate for education rights and women’s rights will represent the NPP at the Parliament.

PWC has consistently advocated for the increase of women in political leadership and decision-making. Along with NPP, PWC supported and lobbied for 20 number of women candidates put forward by the NPP in the recently concluded parliamentary election. The appointment of Dr. Amarasuriya as the National List candidate, we believe, shows the NPP’s true and integral commitment to the feminist vision outlined in the PWC policy as well as NPP’s overall policy regarding women’s participation in politics. This is principle in action—walking the talk. We are also thrilled that it is our colleague Dr. Amarasuriya who will represent us, and women and men in Sri Lanka as an NPP Member of Parliament.

Dr. Amarasuriya has been an ardent advocate for public educational rights in Sri Lanka, supporting and leading movements which demand structural change in our education system. Dr. Amarasuriya has always been led by a passionate commitment to ensuring that education in Sri Lanka be accessible, equitable, just and truly public. But her commitment to social transformation isn’t limited to any one issue. Dr. Amarasuriya, in her role as a member of the Public Representations Committee for Constitutional Reform, advocated for public representations to be taken seriously on matters of the state, religion, socio-economic rights and more. Her deep respect for a diverse range of stakeholders was evident through this process, and it enabled her to bring these representations into multiple fora and public discourse in a meaningful way.

Dr. Amarasuriya’s contributions within the Progressive Women’s Collective have been invaluable. Her insightfulness and perceptiveness enabled her to make incisive contributions in shaping PWC’s feminist vision and policy. She has also advocated tirelessly for the adoption of a feminist lens within the broader NPP.

It is common to see petty politicking within political parties following elections, where party leadership typically sideline original National List candidates or female candidates in the final seat allotment, in favour of candidates who didn’t get sufficient preferential votes to win a seat. We trust that this is an instance where NPP has shown our commitment to democratic and participatory politics, eschewing patronage politics and exclusionary practices. We are setting a new trend in politics, where politics is no longer a matter of self-gain and individual advantage, but a broad praxis where principles and vision rules the order of political decision-making.

As women, we believe that NPP’s decision to allot the National List seat to Dr. Amarasuriya is a defining moment in our Left political history. We deeply appreciate this move by the NPP as bold decision. In this time of profound electoral setbacks for left political parties, we remain hopeful that the NPP will become a touchstone of political incorruptibility and ethical behaviours, committed to a safer, healthier, and economically sustainable society. We also laud the courage that Dr. Amarasuriya has shown by accepting this invitation of the NPP during such challenging times. For us, as the PWC, this is an indication that the long road ahead will be one of unity, respect, and commitment to women’s rights in Sri Lanka, a sign, that the times are, indeed, changing, after decades of political neglect of female leaders by left and right political parties.

Progressive Women’s Collective

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