President – PM entrusted to decide way forward; Committee report accepted, subject to alterations;
The Cabinet last night decided to entrust President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the task of deciding the manner in which the government should proceed with the 20th Amendment.
The Cabinet sub committee report, dealing with electoral reforms, was presented to the Cabinet and the ministers decided to accept it while leaving space for further alterations. S. B. Dissanayake, Sarath Amunugama, Lakshman Kiriella, Kabir Hashim, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem, Gayantha Karunathilake, P. Digambaram and Rishard Bathuideen served as members of the Cabinet sub committee which prepared the report.
The sub committee report encapsulated the core views expressed by different political parties with regard to electoral reforms and the 20th Amendment. However, some members of the Cabinet who represented ethnic minorities raised concerns saying some of their viewpoints were not included in the report.
At the same time, different viewpoints were expressed by ministers on the number of seats in Parliament. Some ministers stated that the number of Parliamentary seats should be increased to 255 while some argued to maintain the status quo.
With different arguments coming from various members of the Cabinet, there was no final agreement on the number of seats in Parliament under the new electoral system.
As a result, a final decision could not be made on the 20th Amendment. Meanwhile, President Sirisena informed the Cabinet that he would hold a separate discussion on electoral reform with the Parliamentary group of the SLFP.
by Rasika Jayakody/CDN