Sri Lanka’s Cabinet approves 20th Amendment:Decides to proceed with 225 MP legislature

Jun 09, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet granted approval for the 20th Amendment to the constitution last night, a media report said.

The 20th amendment to the Constitution proposes scrapping the preferential voting system with each polling division electing at least one lawmaker, increasing the size of the assembly to reflect the increase in population and having a mixed first-past-the-post and a district-based proportional representation system.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the Cabinet meeting, presented the proposal on 225 MP legislature and stressed the importance of not increasing the number of seats in Parliament, the media report said.

“After considering arguments presented by members representing the United National Party (UNP), Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) the Cabinet finally decided to proceed with a legislature of 225 MPs,”

“The 225 MP legislature was the stand taken by the UNP and the SLFP, which earlier lobbied for a legislature of 255 MPs, finally agreed to compromise,”

“The 225 MP legislature will include 125 MPs elected under the First Past the Post system (FPP) , 75 MPs under the Proportional Representation (PR) system and 25 MPs under national list. The 75 MPs elected under the PR system will represent districts.”

Some Cabinet members, including Minister Rajitha Senaratne and S.B. Dissanayake, proposed to have a legislature of 255 MPs.

However, after lengthy deliberations, they agreed to settle with the proposal presented by the Prime Minister.

Several Cabinet members, including Ministers Laskhman Kiriella, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Ajith P. Perera, endorsed the Prime Ministers views and stated that increasing the number of seats in Parliament would be a burden on the public.

During the discussion, President Maithripala Sirisena assured that no injustice would be done to minorities when conducting delimitation and that the government would ensure a fair minority representation.