Reforms: Parties given more time for submissions
TNA, SLMC to wait for implementation
The Parliamentary Select Committee
on Electoral Reforms which finalised the interim draft
report has given political parties a deadline until
the end of this month to submit their observations.
Last week, the Committee met all political
parties represented in parliament to discuss the draft
report, where the parties agreed on principle.
However several political parties
had asked for time to further study the report and submit
their submissions on key issues pertaining to the changes
in the electoral system.
Chairman of the Select Committee Minister
Dinesh Gunawardene told The Sunday Times that all the
parties had agreed on a mixed system.
“General consensus was there,
but they needed time as there were slight adjustments
to be made. The Committee agreed to further the deadline
and the parties will have to give in their submissions
by the end of the month, as the Committee’s next
sitting will be on November 7” explained Minister
The two main political parties, the
SLFP and the UNP are to hand over their observations
by the end of the month, while the CWC, Up Country People’s
Front, and the Western People’s Front are scheduled
to give in their submissions in two weeks time.
“One of the main issues the
UNP had was the Parliamentary composition. The Committee
recommended that there should be between 150 to 175
members, but the UNP recommended 125.
The SLFP too had its reservations
on this. However, the minority parties feel that there
should be more representation. We have to arrive at
a ratio to suit more representation on the mixed system,
stability of government and more minority representation,”
Mr. Gunarwadene added.
However the TNA and the SLMC had taken
the stand that the parties were not in a position to
give their observations until devolution of power is
“The JVP too expressed its views,
saying that if there is to be any changes to the electoral
system, the Executive Presidency should be abolished,
as the present system was coupled with the Executive
powers. We will also consider their recommendations,”
said the Minister.
Dinesh Gunarwadene added that the
Select Committee hoped to finalise the report and present
it to Parliament in mid November.
“We should be able to complete
by mid November. As changes to the electoral reforms
is one of the six points to be included in the SLFP-UNP
MoU, we feel we can complete by next month,” he
In 2001, a Parliamentary Select Committee
chaired by Minister Gunawardene proposed several key
changes to the Local Government Ordinance. The Committee
recommended that a mixed system be introduced as it
was best suited for Sri Lanka.
Although the interim report on the
reforms was finalized, with political parties representing
parliament, except the JVP, giving their consent, the
interim report did not materialize. The present Select
Committee has however, to a certain extent, used some
of the proposed recommendations by the earlier Committee
as the base for the new amendments.