Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
13 May, 2015 | 1:39 am
The draft of the 20th amendment to the constitution, which comprises of electoral reforms, was presented to party leaders on Monday (May 11th). As per the reforms proposed in the draft, the number of seats in parliament, will increase to 255.
President Maithripala Sirisena held discussions on Monday evening with party leaders, based on the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution. The President requested the political parties to submit their proposals before noon on Wednesday (May 13th).
The draft presented to party leaders on Monday evening, proposes a combined electoral system. While the preferential voting system will be abolished, public representatives will be elected on a proportional representation system.
Under the current electoral system, 196 MP’s are elected through the district level proportional representation system, while the remaining 29 come from the national list.
The number of MP’s elected from each party in each district and which candidates get elected, is determined by the number of preferential votes.
The draft 20th amendment to the constitution proposes an electorate system instead of the preferential voting system. 196 MP’s will be elected through the district level proportional representation system.
The number of seats for each party, will be determined by the proportion of votes obtained in each district. The candidates who will be elected, are determined based on whether or not they win in their electorates.
The 20th amendment to the constitution proposes that the number of National List MP’s be increased to 59.
Director of Strategic Enterprise Management Agency Asoka Abeygunawardana says that the new factor that they are introducing is the system of polling divisions or electorates adding that the MP’s who record the most number of votes and win in their electorates will be given priority and the seats will be divided among each political party based on proportional representation. Instead of winning the most preferential votes, MP’s will be able to get elected by securing the most number of votes in their electorate, through a system of proportional representation.
Asoka Abeygunawardena also spoke on the future course of action with regard to the 20th amendment. He said that the draft 20th amendment proposes the establishment of a boundary demarcating commission to determine the number of polling divisions.
Political parties also expressed their views regarding the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution.
UNP Media Spokesperson Min. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the 20th amendment to the constitution would be presented before Parliament very soon. However he noted that the ext general election will be not be held according to the electoral system that will be set up through the 20th amendment.
Meanwhile JHU Chairman Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera praised the 20th amendment for abolishing the preferential voting system and noted that they JHU will extend their fullest support to pass the amendment in Parliament.
JVP Politburo Member K.D. Lal Kantha also said that they are for an electoral system which creates more democratic space than there is at present and also support the abolition of the preferential voting system.
Draft 20th amendment to the constitution presented to party leaders – draft proposes increase in number of MP’s to 255.
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