ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 24

Composition of future House: UNP disagrees with proposals

By Shelani Perera

The main Opposition UNP has disagreed on the composition of Parliament proposed by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms in its interim draft report.

The Parliamentary Select Committee has suggested that the 225 seats in Parliament be composed of 150 elected MPs from 150 polling divisions under the first-past-the post (FPP) system, 72 District MPs under the District PR system and 3 National PR MPs from unrepresented minor parties.

However the UNP has insisted on a total of 125 elected MPs under the FPF system and a 100 members under the PR system, when it came before the Committee on Tuesday. The Committee had requested the UNP to re-consider its suggestion.

Parliamentary Select Committee Chairman Minister Dinesh Gunawardene told The Sunday Times the Committee members discussed the matter with senior UNP MPs as the disagreement was presently the only obstruction to present the report to Parliament.

“We discussed the matter with the UNP MPs and gave them time until Tuesday. We hope they will give us a positive answer. We explained the importance of having such a composition. The party will get back to us by next week. All parties have agreed on the need to have a mixed system of first-past-the-post and Proportional Representation as the most suitable. If we are to reduce the number from the FPF, there would be other problems,” he said.

Among the key recommendations of the Committee was the reintroduction of the Ward system for Local Government elections, subject to the re-demarcation of electoral boundaries by a fresh Delimitation Commission.

The need for a permanent Delimitation Commission for Parliamentary and local government elections was viewed as a vital factor. The Committee recommended that necessary steps be taken for the constitution of a Delimitation Commission to implement the proposed system of election for Parliament and local bodies.

Introduction of an electronic voting system has also drawn the attention of the Committee, as its use will minimize the heavy expenditure incurred by the Department on manpower during elections and delays in releasing elections results.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.