The Horse Race – The curious case of the 25 UPFA portfolios

by Manthri.lk - Research Team posted over 5 years ago in Analysis

 

 

On 22 March 2015, 25 UPFA MPs were given ministerial positions. Was there a basis on which these 25 MPs were chosen? Analysis by Manthri.lk, Sri Lanka’s pioneering parliamentary monitoring platform, identifies three criteria that form the basis of President Sirisena’s selection 1. Winning potential 2. Geographical distribution 3. District Targeting.

 

The strategy: Securing the support of ‘prized stallion’ MPs who received large numbers of preference votes in 2010, can increase the likelihood of securing their voter base. This can also unlock the opportunity of the two remaining preferential votes (a ballot paper allows for three pref. votes) going to favoured candidates.

 

Picking the winning horses: The 25 MPs represent 16 of the 22 electoral districts in the country or 82% of the country’s registered voters – indicating a broad spread. Figure 1 shows the distribution of these new ministers by their electoral districts and their performance in terms of rank by preferential votes captured in the 2010 General Elections – with only one district, Gampaha, having 3 new ministerial appointees.

 

Figure 1: District Ranks by Preferential Votes in 2010 General Election  

 

 

 

 

 

District Ranking of Selected MP

Total MPs in District

 

MP 1

MP 2

MP 3

 Gampaha 

2

7

19

19

 Kegalle 

1

5

-

9

 Moneragala 

1

2

-

5

 Ratnapura 

2

-

-

10

 Kalutara 

2

6

-

10

 Matara 

2

3

-

8

 Badulla 

2

-

-

8

 Kandy 

3

12

-

12

 Hambantota 

2

-

-

7

 Kurunegala 

5

6

-

16

 Anuradhapura 

3

-

-

9

 Puttalam

3

-

-

9

 Matale 

2

-

-

5

 Galle 

5

-

-

10

 Nuwara Eliya 

5

-

-

7

 Colombo 

16

17

-

20

Key = Orange Shading = resigned (22 May ’15)

 

There are 3 key observations 1. Eight of the new UPFA ministers are ‘solo’ representatives, but a recent spate of resignations leave gaps in the strategy – most distinctly felt in Ratnapura (Pavithra Wanniarachchi) and Badulla (Dilan Perera) 2. The case of the two Colombo MPs appears anomalous, however both MPs are closely connected to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, a potential factor in their appointment (Jeevan Kumaratunga & AHM Fowzie) 3. 14 of the 25 MPs rank in the top three of their electoral districts, supporting the theory that President Sirisena is picking the ‘prized stallions’ ahead of the ‘also-rans’.

 

No money on the long shot: Of the 6 electoral districts without a ministerial appointment, 5 belong to the Northern and Eastern provinces – areas synonymous with minority votes, where the UPFA do not fare well. The last remaining electoral district is Polonnaruwa, the stronghold of President Sirisena, which will be considered the first district to align with his faction.

 

Does this selection of 25 MPs reflect the meritocratic potential of the preference voting system currently in place? Or is popularity over-determining the composition of the executive? Share your thoughts and questions at www.manthri.lk/en/blog; over Twitter @manthrilk, or by text to the manthri.lk hotline: 071-4639882.

 

 

 

 


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