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MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardene has observed that he has always maintained that PR system must be replaced by a mixed system.

Addressing Parliament on 20 A Adjournment debate on Tuesday, he said:  

‘We need a new electoral system which would be more beneficial to the people to form a stable government. I first presented the motion to Parliament for the change of the electoral system in 2002. I always maintain the opinion that the PR system should be replaced with a mixed system.

All parties are concerned about their share in Parliament. For example, those representing the North are keen on retaining the existing number of seats in Jaffna. This could be done, but some are advising for the reduction of this number. As electoral reforms are affecting all parties and people, it must be done after a careful study. Electoral reforms should not be designed to suit the existing electoral map. This map requires changes. I request that the basic principles proposed in our report are not discarded. The recommendations given in our report could be adjusted according to its needs.

There is consensus that a hybrid system of the FPP and PR system is needed for the country. Already this system had been adopted for Local Government elections. The electoral reforms should be subject to wide discussion.

The introduction of electronic voting machine is important to improve the confidence of the people concerning the election system. Just the revision of system would not solve all the problems, but the building of confidence of the people is essential.

The number of political parties is very high in our country. There must be a mechanism to regulate them. The Elections Commissioner has pointed out the need to pay attention to the above facts.

Under the 13th Amendment made in 1987, Provincial Councils were created in between local government authorities and Parliament. Therefore, our opinion is that the number of Parliament seats should not be unduly increased. Powers of provincial and local government bodies should be reduced. Parliament should be limited to national level policy making.

The proposed electoral reforms are not simple, but complicated. I warn some districts would only get one electoral division under the proposed reforms.

 

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UPFA Parliamentarian W D J Seneviratne has observed that they give priority to 20 A, while the United National Party does not. This 20th Amendment was brought along with the 19th Amendment. But the UNP always wanted to push the 20th Amendment back. We stood against it and brought it forward. It has received the approval of the Cabinet.

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UPFA Parliamentarian Thissa Vitharana has observed that the two ballot papers could address the issues that we confronted with. 

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