New Election Laws?

New Election Laws?

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a proposal to reform the parliamentary election system in the island nation ahead of the presidential election likely to be held later this year.

A note from the cabinet meeting held Monday (18) and released on Tuesday (19) said that a cabinet sub-committee has been appointed to formulate a hybrid system for Parliament representation – 160 members to be appointed by first past the post system while 65 members would be elected under the proportional representation system while retaining the total number of MPs at 225.

Presently, 196 members are elected under districts-based proportional representation while 29 members are appointed on the cumulative votes polled from the nationwide vote.

The cabinet note added that the Justice Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was advised to work out a draft election law accordingly.

The move on the electoral reforms assumes significance as the country is set to hold the next presidential election in the last quarter of this year. The next parliamentary election is not due before August 2025.

However, speculation is rife that a section of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) wants a parliamentary election to precede the presidential election.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has the power to dissolve Parliament for a snap election or the 225-member house can pass a resolution by simple majority to call for a fresh parliamentary election.

But analysts say either party was unlikely to make the move for a snap parliamentary election.

Political sources said that Wickremesinghe on Monday asked his cabinet members to get ready for the presidential election which should take place between September 15 and November 15.


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