20 A: Now SLFP wants MPs elected on FPP increased to 160
Posted on June 15th, 2015

UNP, SLFP disagree on electoral system under which General Election will be held

by Zacki Jabbar- Island

Despite a consensus forged between the UNP and SLFP in Cabinet on Friday   to increase the number of seats in Parliament to 237, the dispute over the electoral system under which the next General Election should be held continued.

Meanwhile, the smaller parties numbering 18  including those representing the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims,  have called for the voters to be issued two ballot papers so that they could indicate their preference for the party and individual separately.

The proposed number of seats in the national legislature and the basis on which it would be allocated was also a matter of concern to us, they noted.

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution aimed at introducing  a new electoral system based on a mix of the First -Past-The-Post (FPP), Proportional Representation (PR) and National List seats , would be gazetted tomorrow. He expected it to be enacted soon after which the House would be dissolved.

In terms of the agreement reached in Cabinet on Friday,145 MPs would be elected on FPP, 55 on PR basis and 37 on the National List. However the numbers appointed on the National List could reduce and those elected on PR basis increased depending on the number of votes each party polls district wise.

Parliament is scheduled to meet again on June 23.

President Maithripala Sirisena is on record saying that a new government would be in place by September.

Rajapakshe emphasized that the General Election would be held under the current electoral system since there would not be sufficient time for establishing the Delimitation Commission followed by re-demarcation of boundaries which would take around three months.

The SLFP’s Chief Organiser for Chilaw and former Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera disagreeing said that regardless of Cabinet decisions the majority of SLFPers wanted the next election held under the proposed new elecoral system and they would continue to agitate for it both in Parliament and outside.

“We will also campaign for the number of MPs elected on FPP to be increased to 160 and I believe it can be achieved”, he observed.

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