The United National Party (UNP) has requested to introduce a uniform electoral system for Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government Institutions.
It has also been proposed that 65 per cent of the members in those bodies should be elected under the First-Past-the-Post system and 25 per cent under the Proportional Representation system.
The UNP made the above submissions testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee to Identify Appropriate Reforms to the Election Laws and the Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments. Former Minister Sagala Ratnayake submitted the above proposals on behalf of the UNP on Tuesday when the Committee met at the Parliamentary Complex. Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presided over the meeting.
The UNP 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 per cent 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 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 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 that 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.
Sri Jayewardenepura University Vice Chancellor Senior Professor Sudantha Liyanage, a member of the Committee of Experts appointed to analyse the proposals, presented several models related to the Local Government elections system. Liyanage also pointed out the need to reduce the existing large number of seats in Local Government bodies.
Committee Chair, Education 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.
Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Douglas Devananda, and Members of Parliament Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Mano Ganeshan, M. A. Sumanthiran, Madhura Withanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were present.
Officials from the Delimitation Commission and the Attorney General’s Department were also present. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to be held on September 13.