Fresh by-elections when MPs cross over!

BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform has mooted a by-election in any electorate in which the sitting Member of Parliament crosses over to another political party, abandoning the Party through which he was elected to Parliament.

Lal Wijenayake, Chairman of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform says the issue of electoral reforms and the question of crossovers would be addressed in the new Constitution, especially in the case of the country going in for a mixed first-past-the-post and proportional representation system.

Electoral reform proposals can be obtained from the people as to whether they want the proportional representation system, the first-past-the-post system or a mixed system. He said this would settle matters because there was controversy and different schools of thought on this.

In elaboration, he said “the present system, in a way, has afforded representation for small political parties. A stable Government can be formed In a totally first-past-the-post system, but whether it is democratic or not to deprive certain sections of representation is up for conjecture.

The voices of smaller parties will not be heard. That is a dangerous trend. When one’s voice is not heard in Parliament which is nation’s decision-making body, then one has to resort to extra-Parliamentary measures to get one’s voice heard. Today, there is utter confusion regarding the matter of crossovers. In the present system, there have been certain Court judgments which apparently run against the factors on which the earlier system functioned as very clearly laid down by Supreme Court Judge Justice Mark Fernando in Gamini Dissanayake v. M.C.M. Kaleel and Others.”