Impasse ends as Cabinet cheers Ranil’s electoral mix

Tuesday, 9 June 2015 01:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Bringing an end to an impasse, the cabinet of ministers, during a special session held last night, approved Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal for the election of legislators under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe proposed that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution introduce provisions for 125 members of a 225-member legislature to be elected through the First-Past-the-Post (FPP) or majoritarian system, with 75 members elected based on proportional representation (PR).

Premier Wickremesinghe proposed that 25 MPs enter Parliament through the national list.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ajith P. Perera said Cabinet had approved the Prime Minister’s recommendations during last night’s special session.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had also put forward proposals to shape the 20th Amendment but the Cabinet decided to support the Prime Minister’s recommendations instead, sources from the meeting told Daily FT.

It now remains to be seen whether the Cabinet-approved proposals will find favour with the majority UPFA Parliament, which made the immediate passage of the 20th Amendment its condition for supporting the 19th Amendment, which curbed presidential powers and restored independent commissions to oversee key state institutions.

The Opposition, which still holds a large majority in the House, managed to obtain a commitment from President Maithripala Sirisena that the current Parliament would not be dissolved until the electoral reforms were passed.  Even if the reforms are adopted by the House in its next sessions, however, the forthcoming parliamentary elections will be held under the existing PR system.