Written by Tharushan Fernando
10 Jun, 2015 | 8:11 pm
A broad discussion has arisen around the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Representatives of various political parties commented on the matter on Wednesday, as well as at a special cabinet meeting was held on Monday, on the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Former member of the Research Team on Electoral Reforms, Asoka Abeygunawardana stated that it was proposed that when the number of MPs is 255, the number of electorates should be 165.
However, the UNP brought an amendment noting that if the number of electorates can be maintained at 125, the number of MPs can be maintained at 225. He further noted that It was the view of the cabinet sub-committee that it is impractical to reduce it from 160 to 125 and all parties with the exception of the UNP, agreed that it should be 165.
He went on to add that the minor parties noted that if it is reduced to 125, it reduces their chances of securing an electorate and based on these facts the final cabinet paper presented by the president noted that since the UNP proposal to reduce electorates to 125 is impractical, the proposal for 165 electorates and 255 MPs is more suitable.
Susil Premajayantha, the SLFP National Organiser added that the UPFA Parliamentary Group, held a meeting last morning under the patronage of His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. And these facts were clarified at the meeting and the final cabinet document will be presented on Friday.
Leader of Democratic People’s Front, Mano Ganeshan noted that discussions were held at various locations over the past two months and the basis of the discussions was the draft 20th Amendment that President Maithripala Sirisena presented to party leaders and the cabinet. He further added that on Monday afternoon the number was 255 but by night it was 225 and this was a game. He finally expressed that the proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is not acceptable.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena added that there is no need to present conditions and that it is the view of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that this is an electoral amendment that is being brought in, without being unfair to anyone and the stance on the submissions made by the SLFP has not changed. He added that there is no problem with the time-frame of the elections and if what the people want is to go for an election immediately then it is not the point.
Leader of National Unity Front, Azad Sally noted that it was like a bomb was suddenly dropped and that the parliament is at 225 seats that include 125 seats and so many bonus seats. He added that if the Tamil people are 14 percent of the population, then they need a number of MPs that represents this proportion and if the Muslims make up 10 percent, then there must be 20 seats.
Deputy Minister of Mass Media, Shantha Bandara added that there is an agreement on the procedure but there is no agreement on the number and since cabinet has approved it, once it comes to parliament, there will be an ability to change the number with the agreement of public representatives.
NFF Councillor for the Central PC ,Nimal Piyatissa stated that it is very clear that the UNP has launched an operation to sabotage the 20th Amendment and it is pointless to the country if they are going to talk about other things without facing the no-confidence motion. He further expressed that the real problem is that the economy has collapsed and the country’s stability has collapsed and it can be clearly seen that the UNP are latching on to other problems and are leading the people astray.
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