The Impact of Corruption on Women’s Political Participation at the Local Government Level: The Case of Sri Lanka

This paper analyzes how different manifestations of corruption hinder women’s political participation at the local level of governance in Sri Lanka. The study is based on a field survey, which monitored and reviewed 79 women aspirants of political office as they navigated the local government or Pradeshiya Sabha electoral process of 2011 in Sri Lanka. While women find it hard to break through the patriarchal dominance in politics, the gendered impact of corruption makes the struggle even more difficult. The study demonstrates that open competition in the electoral process and the proportional representation system of elections do not help advance women’s political representation.
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“The real price of corruption is not paid in currency after all. The true costs are eroded opportunities, increased marginalization of the disadvantaged and feelings of injustice.” (UNDP, 2008; vii).

South Asia has produced powerful female politicians as prime ministers, presidents, opposition leaders, chief ministers and political kingmakers. But its record of overall female participation among political office holders from national to regional to local is rather dismal. While kinship ties among a few well-connected elitist families may very well propel a few women into political leadership positions, for the vast majority of women, this path may not be available due to a plethora of intersecting issues, resulting in persistent gender inequalities determined by varying degrees of patriarchal values/ hegemonic masculinity, entrenched in society over millennia (Yuval-Davis, 2000; Runyan and Peterson, 2014).
In this study, we focus attention on one particular obstacle that women who seek political office in Sri Lanka face. We pose the question: To what extent do the “systemic” practices of corruption of the male dominant political apparatus affect women’s entry into local government elected office in Sri Lanka? As Mohanty (1991) and others continuously caution us, there is “no one woman”, for the purpose of constructing an analytical frame for the study, we classify women candidates of a particular local government election cycle in Sri Lanka into a single category.

Organization and methodology
In examining the gendered constraints of the male dominant systemic corruption affecting women’s efforts in seeking elective office at the local government level, we base our analysis on the original data derived from a field survey of a sample of women candidates who aspired to seek nomination as candidates from a number of registered political parties in Sri Lanka during the last local government elections held in March 2011 . In the first section of the paper, we draw upon the literature on the impact of corruption in order to contextualize the gendered nature of corruption on electoral politics, Second, we turn our attention to discussing briefly the grounded reality of women’s entry into competitive representative politics, with particular reference to South Asia. In section three, we discuss the methodology adopted in the field survey. In section four, we use the narratives of the field survey and insights from the literature survey to analyze the impact of corruption on women’s political aspirations in Sri Lanka at the local government level. In this section, we benchmark different stages of the election processes in order to highlight the gendered impact of corruption of the political system. In the concluding section, we draw attention to the overall negative impact of entrenched corruption in the political system in obstructing the emergence of a critical mass of women into the public space of electoral politics. We also highlight a few of the potential positive outcomes of women’s entry into representative politics at the local government level in Sri Lanka.

Faces of Corruption
Corruption in contemporary society has a wide reach and seems to penetrate all aspects of modern society. As Gray and Kaufmann observe, “to date no all purpose definition is available. Corruption is complex and multi-faceted and resists simple labeling. How corruption is defined depends on the context” (1998:7). The UNDP (2008), acknowledging the difficulties of attempting a universal definition of corruption, identifies some core characteristics or pre requisites for a corrupt act . Common forms of corruption are bribery, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, cronyism and nepotism. Such forms of corruption also lead to acts of violence. What is universally acknowledged is that acts of corruption give an unfair advantage to a person or a group over others by a set of means that are, by definition, always outside the law.
In the literature on gender differences in corruption practices, the general focus is on how corruption in the socio-economic and political systems adversely effect women (Hossein and Musembi, 2010; Transparency International, 2000; UNDP, 2008). A frequently cited study by a World Bank team, noted that a higher rate of female participation in governance is associated with lower levels of corruption (Dollar, Fisman and Gatti, 1999). Swamy, Knack, Lee and Osfar confirmed these findings as well (2000). In response to the claim that women are more ethical and less corrupt than men in relation to governance practices, Hun-En Sung (2003, 2012) argued that lower levels of corruption in governance are attributed to the prevalence of liberal democratic traditions rather than women’s rate of participation in political decision-making roles. Sung explains that liberal democratic polity improves women’s political standing and also reduces the incidence of corruption. In fact, Sung cautions that while encouraging “Female participation in public life is a noble and a just end in itself, that it would not, by itself be an effective means to a clean government” (Sung, 2003: 718). Expanding on Sung’s claim (2003:2012) that it is the regime type not the presence of a critical mass of women in representative politics that explain the incidence of less corruption, Eseray and Chirillo (2012) argue that women’s propensity to engage in corruption is impacted by the prevailing norms of democracies and non-democracies. In democracies, women may be more severely punished if charged with corruption, whereas in non-democracies, where corruption may be more tolerated, number of women in politics are unrelated to incidences of corruption. In examining the validity of the assertion, that women in government are perceived as more ethical, honest and trustworthy than male politicians, Barnes and Beaulieu (2014) used a statistical survey experiment focused on perceptions of election fraud. They concluded that there is a clear causal connection between the presence of female candidates and lower perception of election fraud. Watson and Moreland (2014,) in their study of a time-series analysis of 140 countries between 1998-2011 found that while women’s representation is correlated with lower perceptions of corruption, gender quotas were correlated with higher perceptions of corruption among political elites. However, Goetz cautions that the perception that women tend to be less corrupt than men is a “myth in the making” (Goetz, 2007:87), based on an essentialist notion of women’s higher moral nature.
Particular significance to this study is the feminist literature on the role of systemic corruption in obstructing women’s entry into representative politics. Much of corruption in political system is related to male dominance associated, most often with clientelism. As Bjarnegard shows, the gender dimension plays a decisive role since in clientelist systems where, “opportunities for electoral corruption are gendered in that only those with access to networks, those with connections within the local or national elite, those with resources to finance corporate behavior, and those who are influential in society are in positions to be considered assets in cliente list networks” (Bjarnegard, 2013:37). Focused on Iceland, Johnson and others assert that “those who study corruption tend to ignore the obvious gendered implications: most of the elite are men, and corruption is one more way to keep women out of power even as they enter elite politics” (Johnson, Einasdottir and Petursdottir, 2011:1). In Thailand, high degree of corrupt practices among male dominated political parties, such as clientelism and vote buying are known to impede women’s entry into politics (Bjarnegard, 2013). Furthermore, corruption can affect women negatively due to their sexual vulnerability, which, as Goetz observes (2007) may be used as a basis of extortion associated with corrupt practices. As victims of corruption, women may be forced to pay with sexual services.
It is interesting to note that women who aspire for political office in male dominant sphere of politics, often identify the issue of corruption as male specific and situate themselves as the “other”, the anti-corruption newcomer into politics who promises to eradicate corruption in the political system. They tend to fall back on essentialist norms of femaleness as being untarnished by prevailing norms of corruption, as being more compassionate and honest. They believe that can genuinely espouse an agenda of a corruption free society.

Note on Women Entering Politics
Women are relative newcomers to the arena of competitive electoral politics. Traditionally associated with the private sphere of reproductive activity, women are deemed to be, at best, less knowledgeable and, at worst, ignorant of the exercise of governance in the public sphere. However, there are three basic interlocking rationales that justify women’s entry into representative democratic politics. Firstly, it is an issue of fairness. The argument is that if women account for 50% of the population of a country, they should be able to claim 50% of representation in a democracy. Secondly, women’s entry into politics creates the female leadership that would provide an important role model for other women and the confidence to enter the public sphere of activism and politics. As Ella Bhat, the Founder of SEWA/India, who was reportedly no fan of Indira Gandhi, commented, “Consciously or unconsciously, every woman, I think, feels that if Indira Gandhi could be a prime minister of this country, then we all have opportunities” (Quoted in Bumiller, 1990: 151). Indira Gandhi’s leadership, according to Bhat, made women more aware of their rights. Thirdly, there is a growing body of literature that demonstrates that female legislators bring family and child related issues, associated with the private sphere of reproduction, out into the public sphere of politics (Jain, 1996; Omvedt, 2005).
The general consensus that women’s entry into politics as active participants would be desirable and beneficial for democracy has undoubtedly spurred governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to adopt new legislation, such as reservations and quota systems for women
in an attempt to draw more women into legislative bodies (Kudva, 2003; Sekhon, 2006). Devaki Jain, referring to the female quota system as implemented in the Panchayat Raj political system in India, was hopeful that by creating such spaces for women’s involvement at the grassroots level, there was a distinct possibility of women transforming the state and its politics from within (1995:6). Farah Kabir adds another dimension to this rationale in her observation “that the common story across India is one of corruption-free government strived by women leaders” (Kabir, 2003:17). Stories of women in local government in India standing up to contractors, enforcing transparency system, and facing violence in return have also being noted (Kudva, 2003). At the same time, It should also be noted that women leaders in national level politics in South Asia are not immune from allegations of corruption. Furthermore, skeptics also note that women, as ‘‘new kids on the block” may rally with an agenda for change, such as eradication of corruption from the system, for the sole purpose of winning an election.
Entry of women into the political spaces at any level is fraught with difficulties. Capturing the essence of how patriarchal norms operate in the society, Waring (2010) explains that in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka women voters and politicians have been subjected to a full range of atrocities during elections and electoral process (Waring, 2010:33). Gail Omvedt (2005) notes that the ‘village square’ has consistently been a male area in South Asia, dominated physically and politically by males of the community. And if the local governance council is a microcosm of the village square, then women’s entry into this square, in the absence of a reservation system as in the case of Sri Lanka, becomes all the more challenging.

Field Survey
Sri Lanka is ranked last among all South Asian countries in regards to female representation in elected office at every level of governance (Kodikara, 2009, 2012). The 2011 Local government elections in Sri Lanka provided an opportunity for the authors of the present study to undertake a field survey in an attempt to understand the issues facing women in Sri Lanka who aspire to run for elected office . Our study is focused on the lowest tier of the governance structure in Sri Lanka known as the Pradeshiya Sabha . Pradeshiya Sabhas are an amalgamation of several villages/ smaller towns as single units of local government.
Our methodology was to follow a group of aspiring women candidates from the point of seeking nomination through the electoral process, ending with the final outcome at the election. The survey was conducted in 2010/2011 in several locations in the district of Kandy, located in the Central Province of the island . The duration of the survey was approximately 4 months. Among the 89 women in the sample who initially expressed interest in contesting the elections, 79 had applied for nomination as candidates. The sample was a purposive one. The age cohort of the sample ranged between 30 years and 65 years: with only four women below the age of 35 years.
Nearly 85% (N= 67) of the sample was married and approximately 2% (N=2) among them had children attending primary school. 65% (N= 43) had teenage children attending high school. 25% (N=16) had adult children living at home, the majority of who were employed either on a full time or part time basis. The remaining 8% (N=6) of the women in the sample were either childless or their adult children were married and were living elsewhere. Among the 15% (N=12) who were not married, 90% were widows and the rest were never married.
The large majority of spouses of the married women were in some form of wage employment. A few were employed in Middle-Eastern countries. All 79 women who sought nomination as candidates had a minimum of ten years of formal education. Nearly 80 % (N=63) of the women in the sample were self-employed. Among the rest, approximately 20% ((N=16) had been employed as Grama Niladharies (Village level officers employed by the government) , schoolteachers, and as clerical staff/office assistants of local and provincial governments.
The method followed in the survey was to meet with the candidates and monitor their activities in seeking nominations and campaigning for votes. The survey methodology included regular interviews with the sample of women from pre-nomination period through the election, concluding with interviews after the results were announced. The interview structure was informal. The objective was to understand the challenges faced by women candidates seeking elected office at the local level of governance. Conversations with the women candidates were focused on their everyday experiences while on the campaign trail. It is noteworthy that the issue of corruption came up as a major challenge they faced while running for office.

Local Government Elections of 2011 in Sri Lanka: Narratives from the Field survey
In Sri Lanka, elections to the governance bodies of Parliament, Provincial Councils, Municipal/town council and Pradeshiya Sabhas (Local government) are conducted on a Proportional Representation basis where each party or independent group nominates a party slate of candidates and the electors mark their vote for the party and their preference vote for the candidate from the party. The number of candidates elected will be proportional to the total number of votes received for the political party/independent group compared to other contesting party slates. In practice, candidates who are ranked higher on the party/independent group slate also get a higher individual preferential vote because of the order of ranking on the party slate.

Entering the Electoral process
The very act of entering the local government electoral process, in the absence of any kind of seat reservation or a female quota system, was challenging to most women. It is interesting to note that all 79 women in the sample are members of Kantha Samithis, which are women’s groups organized by national NGOS and also by different arms of the state for various purposes such as micro-enterprise development, self-help groups and small and medium enterprise development. All of the women in the sample were members of one or more Kantha Samithis. A majority of the women in our sample were also members of other village-based associations, which were open to both women and men. Tripp (2001), in her study on the role of women’s movements in challenging neo-patrimonial rule in selected countries of Africa observed that even in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian African countries, women’s independent associations created political spaces for women to emerge into the public spaces of politics. In fact, we learned from our survey narratives that apart from a few women who sought political office on the strength of their familial relationships to political leadership, the majority of women who had no kinship affiliation to powerful political groups/families, sought political office through their affiliation to civil society women’s groups.
The women in the sample said that they were encouraged to seek nominations from their “sisters” in the Samithis. They shared common concerns about community-level problems. For example, one woman from Patha Dumbara noted that they faced problems on a daily basis, including “lack of drinking water, lack of facilities in the local schools, increasing incidence of domestic violence and crumbling roadways and erratic public transport.” They complained that the incumbent male members of the local Council were more interested in using government funds for personal gain that they neglected to address urgent community issues. A woman who was seeking nomination in Akurana remarked that, “Male incumbent members of our Pradeshiya Sabha are corrupt thugs, dealing with Kassippu (moonshine). With the money they make they give food, money, alcohol to voters prior to elections. We want to change this political culture”.
The sample population listed bribery as the top form of corruption, closely followed by nepotism and cronyism. Also, we were repeatedly informed that corruption often led to violence, perpetrated by hired hands in order to forcibly prevent others from entering the election as candidates in the first place. One of the most frequently cited complaints of the women candidates was that the violence was perpetrated by the corrupt incumbents who did not want to lose the lucrative ‘pay offs’ from government contracts for local services, which they shared with their cronies. The women vowed to stop such acts of corruption, if elected.
While the women in our sample did demonstrate a remarkable degree of motivation, they also had no illusions about the problems they faced to clear the initial hurdle of getting their nomination from the political party. They had legitimate fears that the incumbents would use their ill-gotten money to hire goons to physically threaten women and their families. More critically, the fear of sexual assault deterred all but a very few women from seeking nomination. In particular, one strategy used by male opponents to deter female success was to tarnish the image of a female candidate by spreading rumors of her sexual morals or lack thereof. In one incident, a woman candidate was called a “Hora Geni” (disparaging local term for a woman who has a clandestine sexual relation with a man). She complained that other women in the neighborhood shunned her after this rumor was spread across the village and that she lost support due to the stigma created by this rumor. The man, a local level politician who was named in the rumor, was untouched by any stigma. In fact, our interviews also revealed that families prevented many women who were interested in entering politics from seeking nomination for fear of getting their reputation tarnished by wild rumors, especially as regards sexual behavior. As one aspiring female political candidate said, “elections are held once every few years, once a woman’s reputation is ruined she has to carry that burden for the rest of her life”.
The drive to maintain corrupt practices is not the only motive for violence in times of elections. However, as the women were quick to note, there were no doubts in their minds that corruption exacerbated violent behavior. It is not surprising to note that women in our sample who had adult sons were less intimidated by fears of violence against them. This creates an ironical situation. On the one hand, their very entry into competitive electoral politics signaled a challenge to the patriarchal system of male dominance of the political sphere. On the other, they explicitly ensured their physical safety and safe passage into politics via the protection sanctioned by the same system that they were challenging. There were instances reported by two of the women in our sample, both from Hatton, where their adult sons were approached by incumbents and local businessmen with promises of large sums of money and better employment opportunities if they could prevail upon their mothers not to seek nomination. The sons apparently declined the offers.

Seeking Party Nominations
Once women decide to seek party nomination as candidates, they confront another layer of corrupt practices in fighting to get their names into the official party slate of candidates. The central committee of the party decides the slate for a particular political party. However, the local level party leaders have a significant influence in recommending particular candidates for the party slate. As Conway has argued, the influence of political gatekeepers, the local party organizers retain substantial influence at the nomination process (Conway, 2003). In the case of Sri Lanka, this constituted a formidable barrier for women candidates.
Three mutually complementary issues in terms of corruption have affected the candidature of women at this level. First, nominations are allegedly “sold” by the local level party organizers to the highest bidder. Women in our sample insisted that they neither had the resources nor the inclination to “buy” their nominations from the local party organizers. After all, most of them campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket. Second, family connections and nepotism took precedence on the selection of nominees by the political party over those who did not have such connections. In a particular case, the local party organizer recommended the nomination of his brother, who had just returned from Oman after working there as a construction worker and who had no prior interaction with the local community. The female candidate whose nomination was rejected by the party in favor of the party organizer's brother was the president of development oriented Kantha Samithi. She was also active in the women’s wing of the local branch of the particular political party. None of the women in our sample had politically powerful family connections. They claimed that they are party loyalists, who worked tirelessly as grassroots level activists at the presidential and parliamentary elections held earlier. They believed that they deserved a spot in the party slate of candidates and that the male leadership of the party treated them unfairly.
Close relatives, both males and females of incumbents and local party organizers, have a far easier ride in winning nominations for the political party slate of candidates. Indeed, while such family connections have propelled a few women, who were not in our sample, into local government political office. We were told they were ineffective legislators, merely following the lead of their relatives. They also become an effective roadblock obstructing the emergence of a critical mass of female candidates. Third, cronyism, especially among business associates who use bribery to support or deter candidacy, is very male-specific. Cronyism among male business interests creates a tight circle of interest groups in order to further safeguard their political power through business networks. This was one of the biggest complaints in the survey.

Wining Party Nomination
Among 79 women in our sample, who sought nominations through their political parties, only 32 obtained nominations as candidates in their party slates. Those who were selected faced yet another obstacle. Since the ultimate winners are selected on a proportionate scale relative to the total number of votes cast for each party slate, those who get a lower ranking on the slate usually do not get elected. Most of the women who got nominations on the party slate were ranked so low that it was highly unlikely that they would get elected. The irony of the situation is that, as candidates on the slate, women campaigned vigorously for votes for the party but they did not have a high enough ranking on the slate to get elected. Here again, women nominees of our sample alleged that bribery, nepotism and cronyism affected their rank on the party slate. Only six women among the 32 women who won nominations were officially elected. The others were ranked far down the party slates and literally had no chance of being elected. Among the 79 women of our sample, only 7.5 were elected to their respective local Councils.
One woman in our sample, from Doluwa, a diligent grassroots party worker was so angered that she was cheated out of getting her nomination (which was eventually given to a business partner of the party organizer), that she rallied her supporters in a public protest against this injustice in a demonstration in front of the national party headquarters. But the decision by the leadership was unchanged. The woman claimed that the party leadership at the national level ignored the corrupt practices of the local party organizers. Another woman who lost out on the party nomination slate from Kundasale, a suburb of the city of Kandy, remarked, “The nature of our political parties is not democratic and it is very difficult for a woman to get nominated. Generally, parties give nomination to thugs and businessmen, who have money to throw at elections.” The male chairperson of the Pradesiya Sabha of Patha Dumbara told us that the party organizers gave the nominations “first to the male incumbents, then to the relatives of the local party organizers, next to powerful candidates with money. So, women, who are far down in the list often get cheated out of the nomination slate.” The nominating bodies of the political parties, from the national to the local levels are overwhelmingly male dominant. Despite the rhetoric from political platforms that women’s representation in governance should be increased, women are not seen as a critical constituency and the male party leadership remains a major roadblock in nominating women as candidates.
The impact of corruption continued through the election campaign as well. Women candidates reported a steady stream of violent acts against their supporters, often from within the political party. Once nominated as a candidate in the party slate, each candidate campaigns to secure as many preferential votes as possible in order to get elected. The women complained that this intra-party rivalry often got violent. No fewer than half the sample who had gained nominations complained that they were prevented from door-door canvassing in the evenings due to threats from thugs who were in the pay of some of the business associates of male candidates.
The women believed that they posed a threat to the incumbency of some of these men, since they had publicly announced that they would expose the corrupt practices of the incumbents. They claimed that complaints of harassment and violence against them and their supporters, which they lodged in the local police stations, were not only ineffective but also counter-productive. In one instance, when a male supporter of a woman candidate had visited the police station to lodge a complaint of violence perpetrated by goons of an incumbent Council member, the complainant was kept in police custody for 24 hour for allegedly lodging a false accusation. The women were insistent that the police officers were in the pay of the corrupt incumbent politician. Similar allegations were leveled against certain officers of the judiciary as well for failing to uphold the law brazenly violated by thugs employed by influential male political leaders.
In general, the lower rankings given to women in party slates or rejection of women as candidates for the party slate seem to have adverse repercussions on the structure of governance as well. A progressive male Pradeshiya Sabha member from Doluwa lamented that there was only one elected female member among 14 elected men in the Doluwa Council. While the issues the female member raised, such as maternity health, potable water, and child nutrition were important; she was a lone female voice. The other male members of the Council, apart from our informant, chose to ignore her suggestions. Our informant further noted that if there were four or five women in the Council, they undoubtedly would be more effective in bringing these issues to the table.
30 women among the 47 women whose nominations were rejected by their respective parties decided to form 5 independent solidarity groups and register the groups as independent slates to contest the election. No sooner had they announced their nomination as independent groups they faced intense pressure from the political parties they were originally affiliated with to withdraw their nominations immediately. The established political parties obviously feared that their candidacy would trigger an erosion of voter support away from the nominated slate of candidates of the respective parties. The political parties used a mix of threats of violence and back room deals, such as offers of lucrative positions for members of the candidate’s families, outright gifts of money, generous funding for village level projects of their choice etc. None of the women we sampled had agreed to these deals. Sri Lankan elections from the executive presidency to the local government level are fought on party lines. Outside this system, independent candidates neither have the resources nor the organizational management skills to conduct successful electoral campaigns. Consequently, none of the women in our sample who fought the elections as independent groups got enough votes to qualify for elected office.

Notwithstanding the failure of the overwhelming majority of the women candidates of being elected to office, the survey revealed that women are willing to enter the fray of electoral politics. Women in our sample were very articulate, had well crafted agendas and were fearless in confronting the male party leadership in their quest to seek nomination. They brought to the table important local issues. All 79 women in our sample were well versed in the rules and regulations of the governance structure of the Pradeshiya Sabhas. They felt empowered to push against a powerful patriarchal system. Our study also demonstrated the important role played by women-centered civil society organizations at the grassroots level in helping to create spaces for women to seek political office. As noted earlier, all the women in our study who originally sought party nomination for elected office belonged to one or several community-based organizations. Their remarks demonstrated that it was the support, mainly from the female solidarity groups, which spurred the women to seek nominations. The women believed that political agitation for a quota system that would ensure a better female representation at the local government level should be taken up by women’s organizations across the country. They believed that the current political structure at the local government level, which seems to perpetuate the corruption of incumbency, cronyism and special interests, would effectively close any space for a critical mass of women to emerge at the local level of governance in Sri Lanka.
Women’s representation in elected bodies on governance in Sri Lanka is abysmal. It has never exceeded 11 per cent in the Parliament and currently stands at an all time low of 5.8 per cent. At the Provincial council level, women’s representation today is 4.1 per cent falling to 3.9 per cent in the Municipal and Urban councils. At the Pradeshiya Sabha level of the local government, women’s representation is only 1.9 per cent.
It would be too simplistic to assume that corruption in the political system is the only cause of women’s inability to transform their political aspirations to elected office. Corruption may not be a male preserve. But politics are. As revealed in our field study, males perpetrated an overwhelming majority of corrupt practices in the political system in one form or the other. As such, women’s attempts to break the patriarchal hold on politics were further subverted by corruption in the system. While the women lauded the support of other women in the women’s organizations, that support did not translate into sufficient votes for them to be elected. Women, though nurtured and supported by civil society organizations were unable to break through the patriarchal hold of the political process, infected by corrupt practices. In the absence of a mechanism, such as a quota system that can help move that critical mass of motivated women into the political arena, women in Sri Lanka will find it hard to increase their numbers at parliamentary, provincial or local levels of the legislatures.

End Notes
i. Following the original field survey leading up to the local government elections of 2011 we had conversations with a selected number of the original sample of aspiring candidates in the summer of 2013 and 2014 to examine whether they were still interested in entering representative politics and whether or not their views on corruption as an obstacle to enter politics had changed. The general consensus was that while they were still interested in entering politics, corruption in system has in fact increased.
ii. The six core characteristics identified by the UNDP are: 1. Gap between group and individual interest or between short-term and long-term benefits; 2. Two are more parties involved; 3, Consenting adults that have a common understanding, with reciprocity, explicit or understood, whether by collusion, coercion, through perceived lack of choice passive or facilitative; 4, Benefi6t furtherance, be it private, sectional or political party interest; 5, Existence of power that could be grabbed, usurped, entrusted or otherwise available: corruptors (givers) can have power: it should be available, whether in public hands or private, or both; 6, Misuse of power that often drives a wedge between intended and stated positions, for unintended purposes ( UNDP, 2008: 18)
iii. At the helm of the four-tier governance structure is the executive president, who is elected on a 6-year term (unlimited term limits) on an island-wide basis. The next tier is a national Parliament, where Members of Parliament are elected for a 6-year period. The parliamentary electoral constituencies are demarcated among the contiguous administrative districts of the country. The parliament consists of 256 members. The sub-national level of Provincial councils forms the next tier. There are nine Provincial a council s for the nine provincial administrative units of the country. The fourth tier consists of the two categories of the local government. I.e. Municipalities/urban councils and Pradesiya Sabhas (local councils)
iv. The local government elections are popularly identified as “Pradeshiya Sabha elections”
v. The Pradeshiya Sabha jurisdiction of Doluwa, Akurana, Kundasale, Yatinuwara, Harispattuwa and Lindula, Patha Dumbara, Maskeliya, Hatton
vi. The percentages are rounded.
vii. Grama Niladharis duties include maintaining the village census, issuing certification to obtain national identity cards, updating electoral registers and coordinating with the district level administrative secretariat on administrative issues of the village.
viii. One of the principal researchers, resident in Sri Lanka conducted all the interviews. Both researchers are proficient in the language spoken by the survey participants.
ix. We were keen to let the survey participants talk to us on 5 main issues: 1. Motivation to enter politics, 2. Management of home, work and elected office, 3. Constraints/push from the community experienced by women in seeking elective office, 4. Impact of the exiting political structure for women’s entry into politics, 5. Any suggestions for change
x. Each political party registers its list of candidates as a “party slate”. The candidates are ranked in each party slate. While candidates in the party slate campaign for the part as well as for their individual vote. In general. Candidates who are in the top tier of the party slate are more likely to be elected than those who are at the bottom. All nominated candidates who are placed on the party slate are expected to campaign for the party irrespective of their position in the party slate.
xi. The party organizing committee decides on who would be selected to the party slate and their rank in the slate. The party candidate slate is registered with the Election Commissioner. Once the registration process is completed, the candidate in the party slate becomes the official candidates for the party.
xii. These community-based organizations were: 1. Political party-affiliated Kantha Samitis, 2. Kantha Samitis organized by the ministry of small and medium enterprises around specific micro-enterprises, 3, Kulagana (women) Samithis, which are lay women’s associations affiliated to Buddhist temples, 4. Village women’s welfare committees, 5. School Development Committees. 6. Sarvodya (welfare oriented NGO with island wide branches in Sri Lanka) committees 7, Village Conciliation boards, 8. Civil Protection village committees (launched originally during the civil war in Sri Lanka)