News

Public views sought on electoral reforms 

  • Polls monitors welcome move 

By Dinitha Rathnayake 

 

The Parliamentary Select Committee to identify the shortcomings in the existing electoral structure and laws has decided to give the public a period of one month to comment on the reforms to be made to the elections structure and laws.

The Committee met for the first time in Parliament yesterday (17) under the Chairmanship of the Leader of the House and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

The role of this special Parliamentary Committee is to identify reforms related to the election laws and the electoral system, and to recommend necessary amendments in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) noted that this initiative was a positive one.

The National Co-ordinator of the CMEV Manjula Gajanayake said: “We requested this for a long time. Sri Lanka needs an inclusive election system. The Committee should consider the island-wide opinion and not cater to one side.”

Gajanayake also pointed out matters such as outdated election laws, not encouraging young voters, the need for an advanced voting system, campaign finance reforms, and out of the country voting.

People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, speaking to The Morning, said that they are thankful for the appointment of such a committee.

“However, since the Committee is representing Parliamentarians, the laws shouldn’t be in favour of them. This should be open to the public as well as for experts in this field such as the Election Commission and monitoring groups.”

A motion was presented by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament for the purpose of appointing a Select Committee of Parliament to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments.