The United National Party (UNP) testifying before the Select Committee of Parliament to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments yesterday (07), pointed out that a general election system should be introduced for Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government Institutions and 65 percent of the members should be elected under the divisional system and 25 percent under the proportional representation system.
They also suggested that the number of members elected to local government bodies should be reduced by reducing the number of divisions. Whilst stating that 25 percent of the members elected to local government bodies should be women, the UNP also pointed out to the Committee the need to ensure the representation of minorities.
The Hon. Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presided over the meeting. Former Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, who testified on behalf of the UNP, further stated that Parliament should be an institution with genuine representation in various electorates in Sri Lanka.
The UNP also stated that dual citizens or persons affiliated with another state should be restricted or barred from contesting at the general elections in Sri Lanka.
The party pointed out that the composition of the Parliament should reflect the demographics of the eligible voters to vote in the election as practically as possible and accordingly the members of Parliament should be elected by the voters and from the national list. The UNP also said that the sources of funding for parties and independent groups at the general election should be revealed. They also pointed out that the expenses incurred by political parties and candidates at an election should be limited.
They were also of the view changing parties should not be allowed and if a member does change the party, he or she should automatically be removed from the party list.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Senior Professor Sudantha Liyanage, member of the Committee of Experts appointed to analyze the proposals, presented to the Parliamentary Select Committee several models related to the local government election system at the Committee.
Prof. Sudantha Liyanage also pointed out the need to reduce the existing large number of seats in local government bodies.
The Committee Chair, Hon. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated that the general opinion is that the country needs a better mixed electoral system. He also pointed out the need to have a Member of Parliament responsible for a division.
Hon. Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Douglas Devananda, Hon. Members of Parliament Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Mano Ganeshan, M. A. Sumanthiran, Madhura Withanageand and Sagara Kariyawasam were present at this meeting held.
Officials from the Delimitation Commission and the Attorney General’s Department were also present.