The Cabinet of Ministers, which met on Wednesday (13 May) to discuss the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution, did not reach a final decision.
The Ministers discussed the proposed reforms to the electoral process when President Maithripala Sirisena presented them with suggestions put forward by minor political parties on the reforms to be introduced through the 20th Amendment.
Earlier the President had submitted a concept paper to be studied by all parties and asked all political parties represented in Parliament to submit their suggestions and proposals in writing by noon on Wednesday for the discussion.
In response, the parties had presented their proposals to be considered by the Cabinet at the meeting. The Cabinet has however decided to defer their decision on the proposals by one week and appointed a subcommittee to look into further amending the draft proposals. Ministers S.B. Dissanayake and Patali Champika Ranawaka had reportedly insisted that the bill should be drafted and announced in the gazette notification yesterday itself. However, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem had opposed their stance and spoke in favour of deferring the decision.
The five-member subcommittee comprising Ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Lakshman Kiriella, Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem and P. Digambaram was appointed to study the proposals of each party for the identification of the basic principles laid down by them before drafting the final version of the bill that is to be presented in Parliament.
Since the Cabinet had decided to defer their decision by one week, it was expected that the bill would not be presented on 19 May as previously planned.