Reforms to disqualify crossovers

sri lanka. 2The proposed constitutional reforms if enacted will disqualify MPs who cross over from party or independent group, Daily Mirror learns. A discussion paper on the constitutional reforms has been distributed among leaders of political parties in represented in Parliament.

According to the reforms, the President is the Head of State, the Head of the Executive and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President will act on the advice of the Prime Minister except in cases exempted by the Constitution. The presidential term has been limited to five years in the proposed changes to the Constitution and can be removed by a no-confidence motion passed with a two-thirds majority.

During the term of the office of the present President, the subjects of Mahaweli Development and Environment will be assigned to him. The Prime Minister is the Head of the Government while the number of Cabinet Ministers has been limited to 30 and the number of state and deputy ministers should not exceed 40. The reforms propose that the Term of Parliament will be five years.

It can be dissolved within the first four years and six months only upon a resolution to that effect with a two-thirds majority. Provisions relating to the Constitutional Council and independent institutions repealed by the 18th Amendment will be reinstated. It has been proposed to set up a Council of State to make recommendations to the President and the Cabinet of Ministers on the implementation of matters in the policy statement of the government and adherence to the principles of good governance.

This council will consist of 35 members and appointed jointly by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader while 20 members will be selected from the political parties and independent groups in Parliament. One seat will be assigned for a party not recognized in the House. A new electoral system — a mix of the first-past-the-post system and proportional representational (PR) system has been proposed in the new constitutional reforms, Daily Mirror learns.

The preferential voting, system will be scrapped if these reforms are incorporated in the constitution while dual citizens will be disqualified from being elected to the post of President or to parliament. The proceedings of the parliamentary committees including the COPE and PAC (Public Accounts Committee) will be open to the public. Parliamentary Bills once passed will be certified by the President.

There won’t be urgent Bills. An all-party committee will discuss the changes proposed for the electoral system. The committee is expected to discuss the ratio between the number of members to be elected from the constituencies and the number under the PR system. The number of seats from the PR system will be decided on the basis of all valid votes or votes polled by the losing candidates. (KB)

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