Independent poll reveals majority of Sri Lankans prefer for the President to instruct the PM

Independent poll reveals majority of Sri Lankans prefer for the President to instruct the PM

Independent poll reveals majority of Sri Lankans prefer for the President to instruct the PM

Written by Keshala Dias

17 Aug, 2017 | 10:44 pm

An independent poll conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, reveals an overwhelming majority of Sri Lankans prefer for the President to instruct the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers on the day to day affairs of the country.

The poll comes in the backdrop of a Constitutional Reform Process which the poll reveals only 1.1% of Sri Lankans are extremely aware of.

62.4% believe that the President should be instructing the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers on the day to day affairs of government.

18.4% of respondents, preferred that the Prime Minister should be responsible for day to day affairs.

Meanwhile, the poll conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives also revealed that a slim majority of 40.3% of the people are against the Executive Presidential system being completely abolished.

35.7% support the abolition while 24% remain undecided.

In terms of the Constitutional Reform Process, the poll also reveals that awareness among the general public is low with almost 25% of Sri Lankans saying they did not know that a constitutional reform process is taking place in the country at the moment.

The Constitutional Reform Process also posed the question on whether the two main parties should have come together to form a National Unity Government?

56.45% of those who took part in the poll supported this decision.

Social Indicator, the Research Unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, has carried out the poll based on samples where 2,000 respondents spread across all 25 districts were polled.

According to the 35-page report compiled by the Centre for Policy Alternatives subsequent to the poll, 34.1% are aware that it is taking place but not at all aware about the details and status while almost 25% of Sri Lankans said that they did not know that a Constitutional Reform Process is taking place at present.

The Northern and Eastern Provinces show the highest levels of awareness with 2.8% saying they are highly aware, 42.3% somewhat aware in the Northern Province, 4% highly aware and 34.7% somewhat aware in the Eastern Province.

Almost 60% in the Sabaragamuwa Province are not aware that a Constitutional Reform Process is taking place in Sri Lanka at present while almost 50% in the Western Province are aware that it is taking place but not at all aware about the details and status.

The report goes on to say that opinion is divided among Sri Lankans when asked if we need a new Constitution. 33.9% said that we need a new Constitution, while 33.6% believe that the current Constitution should continue but with some needed changes.

Almost 20% of Sri Lankans say they do not know whether we need a new Constitution or whether we should continue with the current one.

On the question of completely abolishing the Executive Presidential System, Sri Lankans are once again divided with 35.7% supporting the complete abolition of the Executive Presidential system and 40.3% against it. 24% said that they do not know whether they support it or not.

Support for complete abolition is highest in the North Central (48.6%) and Sabaragamuwa (44%) Provinces while around 50% in the Southern and Eastern Province stated that they do not support it. Almost 50% from the Central Province remain undecided.

The report further reads that when questioned about the role of the Prime Minister, 62.4% believe that the Prime Minister and Cabinet should run day to day affairs of the Government on the instructions of the President while 18.4% said that the Prime Minster should be the Head of the Government, running day to day affairs with other Ministers of the Cabinet.

The poll further reveals that the majority preference to the President goes beyond provincial and communal boundaries.

The preferences across the Provinces are as follows:

Western Province – 58.4%
Central Province – 48.2%
Southern Province – 53%
Northern Province – 72.2%
Eastern Province – 62.9%
North Western Province – 74.7%
North Central Province – 68.1%
Uva Province – 59.8%
Sabaragamuwa Province – 88.2%

The preferences, analysed by ethnicity is as follows:

Sinhalese population – 62.7%
Tamil population – 56.7%
Up country Tamil population – 56.6%
Muslim population – 69%

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