Proposal for Electoral Reforms

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 4 2021
Focus Proposal for Electoral Reforms

Secretary General of United Peace Alliance and Former State Minister Hasen Ali says that Muslim community’s political aspirations get distanced due to the votes of the majority community. He submitted proposals of the United Peace Alliance to the Electoral Reform Committee. His proposals are as follows: 

System of electoral reform 

Election of representatives for all the three tiers (Parliament, Provincial Council and Local Authority) should be continued with the Proportional Electoral System. Changes in the Electoral System to improve aspirations of plural societies are better expressed through Proportional Representation. All the positive democratic features of the current Proportional Electoral System to be preserved or improved if required. 

Postponements of Elections 

Polls should not be postponed on the pretext of rectifying errors in the existing system. The date for the next Election should be declared at the first meeting of the respective elected bodies. Any changes in the electoral system in-between should continue until it is absolutely finalised. Any such finalised Election reforms should be put in place or implemented at future Elections. 

Declarations of assets of candidates 

All elected people’s representatives should declare their assets before or along with submitting their nomination papers to the respective Returning Officers. The right to know such information, enshrined in the Right to Information Act (RTI), should be made available to all citizens without any restriction whatsoever. 

Laws regarding crossovers 

One of the main features of Proportional Representation is that it announces and projects the Policies, of the Parties and the Representatives who have been elected to govern the country for a stipulated period, as well as announces and projects the Policies, the Parties and the Representatives who have been elected to form the Opposition to the Government. A Party, complete with all its Representatives, should be allowed to change sides (from Government to Opposition or vice-versa) in keeping with its Party Policies or in positioning itself to best implement, project or defend its Policies. The feature of allowing any Representative or Representatives to cross over from the Government ranks to the ranks of the Opposition or vice-versa is in fact usurping or misappropriating the numbers in the process of democracy that had been validated at the Elections. We strongly urge that this malady of crossovers of individual Representatives be totally prohibited. 

Basic educational qualifications 

Basic educational qualification in respect of candidates contesting the Presidential, Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government bodies should be stipulated in the Election Law. ( It should be noted that Sri Lanka enjoys a 92 per cent rate of literacy ) 

Youth & Women’s representation 

In order to encourage Youth and Women’s representation, the number of women candidates and Youth candidates proportionate to a stipulated required ratio, should be reflected in the nomination list itself. After the Elections were over no tinkering or changes should be allowed to the list of winning candidates in the Election. Youth and female voters have the opportunity to use their votes directly to secure suitable representatives from such candidates. 

PC Elections 

Abrogation of the Provincial Council system should not be permitted. under any circumstances. Decisions on it should be taken on the basis of the results of referendums could be held in each province in a single day. 

Minority community electorates 

The number of electorates for the minorities commensurate with their national level percentage should be ensured. Electorates for the people of the North, East and the Central Hill Country should be demarcated so as to ensure their representation commensurate with their ethnic percentage. 

Demarcations of 2 separate Electoral Zones in the Digamadulla Electoral District 

The three polling divisions (formally constituencies) of Pottuvil, Kalmunai and Sammanthurai should be annexed and declared as a separate electoral zone forthwith. The present Ampara polling division (formally constituency) does not have even one per cent Tamilspeaking people, and when votes of the Tamil-speaking people of their three pre-dominant polling divisions (formally constituencies) mingle with the greater number of Sinhalese majority votes in the Ampara constituency, our political aspirations get distanced due to the votes of the majority community, and consequently, the former do not get and unlikely to get the opportunity of projecting their independent aspirations in both General Elections and in referendums. Similarly, since the less than one per cent votes of the minorities get mixed with the 99 per cent majority community votes, the outcome virtually distances the minorities from mainstream politics. As such, the larger Digamadulla Electoral District which is not suitable for the two different linguistic communities should be recommended to the current delimitation committee for separation as two different electoral districts. A good precedent is the division of the Jaffna District into two (Jaffna and Kilinochchi) and the Vanni District into three (Vavuniya, Mullaitheevu & Mannar) for the benefit of the people. We therefore, request that this requirement should be recommended to the Delimitation Committee that is now to be formed. 

Declaration of new local government bodies 

Ampara District Sainthamaruthu Town Council Sammanthurai Urban Council (to be upgraded) 

Trincomalee District Thoppoor Pradeshiya Sabha 

Batticaloa District Valaichena Central Pradeshiya Sabha

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 4 2021

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