Allegation that minority representation will be affected baseless – NUF

‘Next election must be under mixed system’

The National United Front (NUF) headed by M .M. Zuhair PC has said that the concerns expressed by some minority community parties alleging that the proposed electoral reforms will reduce minority representation in Parliament is baseless in view of sub-paragraph 4 of Article 99A of the present Constitution which clearly provides that the appointments of parliamentarians through the ‘National List’ at the conclusion of the final results of the general election must ensure that the "representation of all communities is commensurate with its national population ratio". 

Following is the text of a Media Release issued by the National United Front (NUF) leader M. M. Zuhair PC in this regard: "In addition past elections held under the first-past-the post system since 1947 also show the minority representation had been substantial in keeping with the national population ratio.

"The NUF urges the President and the Prime Minister to honour the pledge given to the country in the election manifesto and the 100 day programme which promised to introduce a "combination of the first-past-the post system and the proportional representation…" . The 100 day work list said more emphatically that on March 17 the "Amendments to change the system of elections will be placed before Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible". The next general election must therefore be held under the mixed system as the government is obliged to respect the mandate given to President Maithripala Sirisena on January 8.

"There will be no need for a Delimitation Commission for the present if the Constitution is amended to recognize the 160 electorates together with the multi-member constituencies returning 168 MPs or even more to rectify electoral imbalances. The 1977 general election was the last held under the first-past-the post system while 1989 general election was the first under the proportional representation (PR) system. Article 97 of the Constitution and section 9 of the Registration of Electors Act need to be amended avoiding the need for a Delimitation Commission for the present.

"The NUF reiterates however that provision must be made in the manifesto for the next general election to appoint a Select Committee of Parliament to consider amendments to the Constitution, covering both the 19th and 20th Amendments and to appoint a Delimitation Commission to redress electoral boundary grievances. The primary concern of the political parties which supported President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election should be to implement this major pledge given to the people before calling for elections".

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