Minor parties will be affected by limiting electorates: CaFFE

Minor parties will be affected by limiting electorates: CaFFE

June 9, 2015   01:18 pm

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The representation of minor political parties with a geographically dispersed voter base will be affected by sticking to 225 MPs and by reducing the number of electorates to 125, CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said. 
  

Thus 20th Amendment will adversely affect Muslim and Indian origin Tamil parties, and the JVP and the JHU as well, he said.
 

“The Cabinet approval of a system that establishes an electoral system combining elements of First Past the Post and Proportional Representation systems is the first step in changing the current political culture. This is also what the people of this country had been demanding. 


However, it is impossible to stick to 225 MPs while assuring representation to all noteworthy political forces. That is why an increase of MPs to, 234 or 235, was included in even in the first draft of electoral reforms. Apart from assuring representation to minor parties, we can’t increase female representation without an increase in the number of MPs.

 
The draft which was approved, 225 MPs and 125 electorates, created three main problems. First, it will take a long time to complete delimitation, second, it will be impossible to establish multi member seats, and it will not be possible to assure representation for Sinhala community in the North and East. Meanwhile, Tamil and Muslim communities will have the same issue outside of North and the East.
 

In the 1970s Sri Lanka increased the number of electorates to 160. From the first delimitation committee, established during colonial times, to the one established in the 1970s, all such institutions increased the number of electorates in Sri Lanka. However to implement the proposal approved by the Cabinet yesterday, we will have to reduce the electorates to 115 - 118 (to leave room for about nine multi- member seats). Even the UNP, who forwarded the proposal, will have to remove around 40-45 electoral organizers. Electorates in Badulla will be reduced to six, from nine. Meanwhile three seats in Galle, two in Matara, three to four from Kurunegala and two to four seats from Kegalle, Rathnapura, Anuradhapura and Kalutara will also need to be reduced. 11 seats in Jaffna will be reduced to five or six. Thus reducing 35 electorates across Sri Lanka is unacceptable.
 

CaFFE believes that it is the responsibility of political parties, civil society organizations and citizen’s collectives to make the proposal passed by the Cabinet much more people friendly. If not we will have to witness a defeat of the 20A in Parliament and the continuation of preferential voting system.
 

If we do not want to see a Parliament with 142 MPs who have not passed O/L and with less than 5% of female representation, CaFFE believes that the Cabinet approved proposal should be expanded into a bill that assures representation of all,” Tennakoon said in a statement.

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