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SLFP asks for mixed electoral system

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… suggests Prez and general election on same day

The SLFP has emphasised the need for a mixed electoral system at the Select Committee of Parliament to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments

Sri Lanka Freedom Party, United People’s Freedom Alliance and People’s United Front handed over their proposals in writing on Wednesday (11) to the Select Committee of Parliament to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments, the Communication Department of the Parliament stated.

The following is the text of the statement: “Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, State Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekara and Lasantha Alagiyawanna handed over the proposals to the Chairman of the Committee, Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on behalf of their parties.

State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking on behalf of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said that the country needs a mixed electoral system at present. He emphasized the need for the executive presidency, and pointed out that proper procedures should be put in place to prevent the appointment of dual citizens to the presidency.

The State Minister said that the possibility of holding the Presidential and General Elections on the same day and the possibility of holding the Provincial Council and Local Government Elections on the same day should be specially looked into. The State Minister also emphasized the need to introduce a district council system in the decentralization of provincial council powers.

Speaking on behalf of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that a system should be set up to hand over the relevant Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to the Elections Commission when political parties enter into an alliance. He said that every party should have a fair campaign opportunity in the elections.

Speaking on behalf of the People’s United Front, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said that special attention should be paid towards bringing in new reforms to reduce election campaign expenses. Speaking on behalf of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Member of Parliament Prof. Tissa Vitarana said that there is an urgent need to establish a new electoral system in the country to protect the rights of all communities. He also pointed out the importance of preventing the misuse of state property.

Representatives of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) pointed out to the committee that the electoral system should be in place to protect the rights of minorities. It was also emphasized that the representation of the plantation workers should be ensured.

Speaking at the PSC meeting, the Democratic Left Front said that it was very important to hold elections on time. They also proposed the complete abolition of the executive presidency and the strengthening of the parliamentary system.

The Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the Democratic United National Front and the Arunalu Janatha Peramuna also presented proposals before the Committee. The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, also presented his proposals to the Committee, saying that new reforms should focus on increasing the representation of women in politics.

Representatives of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) suggested that many countries in the world have resorted to the method of counting votes electronically and that it should be experimented in Sri Lanka as a pilot project.

Accordingly, the next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to be held on August 18 said the Secretary to the Committee, Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary General of parliament Ms. Kushani Rohanadheera.

Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Prof. G. L. Peiris, M.U.M Ali Sabry, State Minister Jeevan Thondaman, Members of Parliament Madhura Withanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were also present at the Committee Meeting.

Officials from the Election Commission, the Delimitation Commission and the Attorney General’s Department were also present at this committee meeting.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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