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Minority parties sidelined

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Electoral Reforms

Minority parties claim to have been sidelined in the drafting of the new electoral reforms. According to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna District Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran the government hasn’t reached out to the Alliance with regards to the proposed electoral reforms.

Speaking to The Nation, Premachandran said the party believed the forthcoming elections will be held under the present preferential voting system and the new Cabinet decision came as a surprise. “They must appoint a committee as promised and consult the minority parties before any reforms are introduced” he said.  Premachandran added that minority representation must be ensured and the government cannot make changes as they please.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) also confirmed that the government has not consulted the party yet. At the compilation of the Dinesh Gunawardena Committee Report on Electoral Reform in 2003 the SLMC was consulted according to Assistant General Secretary of the party Nizam Kariapper. “However this time around we have not been asked to put forth proposals on the reforms as yet” he said. Kariapper however added that the SLMC is supportive of the proposed mixed system as long as it ensures actual representation of minor and minority parties. 

The government, despite promising in its 100-Day program that it will set up an all party committee to present proposals for electoral reforms, it has failed to do. This is despite a cabinet announcement that the next general elections will be held under a new electoral system. Both the parties were not happy with the government’s move and noted that if the next election is to be held in June, it would create a complex situation even among voters.

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