Dr Dewasiri fears poll reforms might fall by the wayside in the 100 - day programme


By Dasun Edirisinghe

Reforms to the voting system could not be expected from the government’s 100 - day programme in spite of it being included in the agreement that was signed by President Maithripala Sirisena with political parties and civil organizations before the presidential poll, member of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri warned yesterday.

He said that the main points of the agreement which was signed NMSJ led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha thera with the common opposition presidential candidate at the Viharamahadewi Park were abolishing of executive presidency, reimplementation of the 17th amendment, to bring the 19th amendment including the Independent Commissions of the 17th amendment and reform the present election system. 

"According to discussions and on-going process of Maithripala government, we can believe that abolishing of executive presidency and establishing independent commissions will be made, but no sign of them bringing reforms to the electoral system," Dr. Dewasiri said.

Answering a query regarding the barriers standing in the way of electoral reforms, the senior academic said that the JVP which was a member of the National Executive Council might oppose it. 

Dr. Dewasiri said if the next general election was held under the existing system, the JVP could be sure of at least dozen members in Parliament, but if the system was changed they might not get even a single member.

He said that a special meeting had been called by the NMSJ on March 01 to review the progress of the 100 – day programme of the government and the points unresolved as per the pre – poll agreement.

When contacted for comment, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said they would definitely bring the electoral reforms in parallel to abolishing of executive presidency and establishing independent commissions.

"We already discussed it and the JVP has no need to further delay it," Dissanayake said.

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