Six Unrepresented Parties Suggest Electoral Reforms
Six political parties currently not represented in Parliament provided their views before the Select Committee on Electoral Law Reforms on 28 July.
General Secretary of the Liberal Party Kamal Nissanka stated that it is appropriate for Sri Lanka to use New Zealand’s electoral system. He told the Committee that his party was opposed to the district proportional system but the national list system should remain.
Nissanka suggested that, in electing the 225 Members of Parliament, 160 should be elected by an election and 65 from the National List.
Chairman of the AkilIlankai Tamilar Maha Sabai K. Wigneswaran said the 1.5 million people who went abroad due to the 30-year war should be given opportunity to vote and laws should be introduced for that purpose.
The Tamil Social Democratic Party stated that the representation of women should be increased by 30 per cent. It should also apply to Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government Authorities, the party said.
The Samathuvakkadchi Party stressed that the existing proportional system should continue without any changes. They pointed out that under the proportional system; all nationalities have the opportunity to represent themselves in Parliament, which is a very important factor for democracy. TheSamathuvakkadchi Party also proposed that the representation of women in the Provincial Councils should be increased to 25 per cent. The party further suggested that voting rights of those living abroad and those displaced should be protected.
The United Peace Alliance said in the Committee that the necessary legislation should be enacted to hold the elections on time and postponement of elections is not appropriate. The UPFA also pointed out the need for candidates to introduce a methodology for handing over their assets and liabilities to the Elections Commission without delay.
Addressing the Committee, Sinhaladeepa Jathika Peramuna, said that a proper policy should be formulated to prevent political parties from forming alliances. The party also said in the Committee that the new legislation should focus on abolishing the seats of MPs who support other parties after winning elections.
Meanwhile, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said in the Parliament Select Committee to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendment that legal action should be taken to increase the representation of women in elections.
The Minister emphasised that with the preferential voting system, it is difficult for women to contest and often enter politics due to their family backgrounds and it is very difficult for women who do not have such backgrounds to enter Parliament.
The Committee to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system met under the Chairmanship of Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Parliament premises.
Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris pointed out in the Committee that if elections were held under the fully First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) system, a huge imbalance would arise. Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Ranjith Maddumabandara stated that the Presidential and General Elections should be held on the same day.