UPFA rebels studying proposed increase in number of MP to 250


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The rebel UPFA group on Monday told a media briefing at the Abhayaramaya Temple, Narahenpita that it was too early to comment on a proposal to increase the number of MPs from 225 to 250.

Democratic Left Front (DLF) leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MP and National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, said that they were in the process of examining the proposal.

They were responding to a query by The Island whether increasing the number of members in accordance with electoral reforms would be panacea for Sri Lanka’s political ills.

MP Nanayakkara emphasised that they had agreed in principle to the proposed combination of first-past-the-post system, district proportional representation and the National List mechanism.

Nanayakkara and Weerawansa said that the grouping’s position would be staked out shortly. It comprises the NFF, DLF, MEP and Western Provincial Council member Udaya Gammanpila’s Pivithuru Hela Urumaya.

Asked by The Island whether the Socialist Alliance (SA) remained intact in the wake of the DLF joining bring-back-Mahinda campaign, MP Nanayakkara said that the recent Ratnapura rally held in support of their cause had been addressed by senior representatives of the Communist Party (CP) as well as the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). He insisted that there hadn’t been a rift among SA partners regarding the rebel UPFA group’s strategy.

Responding to another query, the MP said that President Maithripala Sirisena had received a mandate to dissolve Parliament on April 23, 2015. Therefore, Parliament had to be dissolved as envisaged in President Maithripala Sirisena’s manifesto, he said, adding that the UPFA rebels wouldn’t object to the President putting off dissolution in case the majority of members agreed. MP Weerawansa said that the government should prove that it had the majority in the House or dissolve parliament as pledged during the presidential polls campaign.

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