Connect with us


PSC on electoral reforms: Anti-crossover laws, expansion of NL, among proposals made by parties not represented in Parliament



By Saman Indrajith 

Six political parties currently not represented in Parliament presented their views before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Law Reforms on 28 July.

General Secretary of the Liberal Party Kamal Nissanka said his party was opposed to the district proportional system, but that the national list system should remain. Nissanka suggested that when electing the 225 members of Parliament, 160 be elected through popular vote and 65 MPs from the national list.

Chairman of the Tamil Social Democratic Party (TSDP), K Wigneswaran, told the committee that the 1.5 million people who left the country due to the 30-year war should be given the opportunity to vote. The TSDP told the committee that the women’s quota should be increased by 30%. The quota should also apply to Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government Authorities, the party said. 

The United Peace Alliance (UPA) told the PSC that legislation should be enacted to hold the elections on schedule and to prevent postponement of polls. The UPA also pointed out that candidates should hand over their assets and liabilities declaration to the Elections Commission without delay.

 Addressing the committee, Sinhaladeepa Jathika Peramuna said MPs should be prevented from crossing over. Legislation should focus on stripping MPs of their seats if they cross over, representatives of the party said.

Commenting on the participation of these parties at the Committee, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said their views too should be heeded.

 She said that steps should be taken to increase female candidates at elections.

The Minister told the committee that due to the preferential voting system, it was difficult for women to contest. Women often entered politics because they had a family background.

 Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, who also spoke before the Committee, pointed out that if elections were held under the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) system, a lot of groups would be left out. It was important for a democracy to hear the voices of all groups, he said

  The Committee, appointed to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system, meets under the chairmanship of the Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

 The Committee will meet for four days next month, Secretary to the Committee, Chief of Staff and the Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera said.

 Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MPs Mano Ganesan, Madura Vithanage and Sagara Kariyawasam also participated. In addition, former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya, officials of the Election Commission as well as officials of the Attorney General’s Department also attended the PSC proceedings. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


GL follows up Udaya’s initiative, negotiates concessionary crude oil supplies with UAE



Balance-of-payment crisis continues to stagger govt.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The United Arab Emirates (UAD) has agreed to discuss a possible arrangement to provide Sri Lanka crude oil on concessionary terms in the face of the country experiencing a severe balance-of-payments crisis, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris took up the matter with UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Prof. Peiris is on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s delegation to the UNGA.

In late August, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila sought the intervention of the Acting Head of the UAE Embassy in Sri Lanka, Saif Alanofy. Minister Gammanpila also met the Iranian Ambassador in Colombo in a bid to explore the possibility of obtaining oil from Iran on concessionary arrangements.

The Foreign Ministry statement on Prof. Peiris meeting with the UAE Minister dealt with the financial crisis experienced by the country. “Foreign Minister Peiris explained the challenges Sri Lanka is experiencing in respect of its external budget, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof. Peiris focused in particular on the country’s requirement for oil and requested concessionary arrangements from the UAE.”

The Foreign Ministry quoted Minister Al Jaber as having said that the UAE would be happy to assist and proposed the establishment of a strategic framework to take the process forward.”

The ministry stressed that both sides agreed to follow-up rapidly.

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila earlier told The Island that concessionary arrangements were required to procure oil as part of an overall strategy to overcome the developing crisis.

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader and Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that increase in fuel prices in the second week of June this year was only a part of the government’s response to heavy pressure on foreign reserves. Minister Gammanpila said that the decision was taken close on the heels of dire warning from the Central Bank.

Minister Gammanpila said that in spite of foreign currency crisis, the government ensured an uninterrupted supply of fuel. According to him, Sri Lanka spent as much as USD 3.5 to 5 bn annually on oil imports depending on the world market prices.

Continue Reading


President attends 9/11 commemoration in NY



President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday attended the special commemorative event near the Manhattan Memorial in the United States to mark the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

The terrorist attacks took place on September 11, 2001, targeting the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.

Coinciding with the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and the 9/11 Memorial Museum jointly organised the event. Other Heads of State and government representatives, who were in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, were also present at the event to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in those attacks.

Continue Reading


FSP calls on govt. allies not to pretend to oppose adverse deal with US firm



By Anuradha Hiripitiyage

Due to the secret agreement signed with US firm New Fortress Energy, Sri Lanka would soon face a situation akin to the one already faced by Ukraine, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) predicted yesterday.

“Sri Lanka is trying to reduce its dependency on coal and switch over to LNG. With this in mind, several coal and diesel power plants are to be converted into LNG in the coming decade. Now, we will entirely depend on the US to provide us with LNG to power these plants. Given that the US intends to control the seas in which Sri Lanka is placed strategically, they will not let us off the hook once they establish their foothold here. We are in deep trouble,” FSP Propaganda Secretary, Duminda Nagamuwa said.

Nagamuwa said that some constituents of the government were pretending that they opposed the transfer of government’s shares in the Yugadanavi Power Plant to New Fortress Energy. “But this is not the time for theatrics but for concrete action”, he said.

Nagamuwa said that the agreement between the government and US Company New Fortress Energy to construct a new offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving, storage and regasification terminal at Kerawalapitiya as well as the transfer of government’s shares in the Yugadanavi Power Plant had to be scrapped.

“Even government ministers agree that the agreement was not discussed with them. Several affiliates of the government are trying to convince the people that they are fighting this decision from inside. However, past experience has shown that when push comes to shove they will stay with the government. They must show the leaders of the government that they are not puppets,” he said.

Nagamuwa said that if those affiliated to the government were serious in their opposition to undermining Sri Lanka’s energy security they should show their commitment by doing something concrete.

The Yugadanavi Power Station at Kerawalapitiya already produced 300 MWs of energy and there was a plan to build another 350 MW plant there. The US Company had now been allowed to build an offshore LNG receiving, storage, and regasification terminal and to provide LNG to the existing Power Station and the new 350 MW power plant to be built, he said.

“Now we are under the power of the US. We will soon be facing the plight of Ukraine,” he said.

Continue Reading