COLOMBO: The next Sri Lankan parliamentary elections will be held only after the Maithripala Sirisena government completes all the constitutional and electoral reforms which it had promised to carry out in the run up to the January 8 Presidential election, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said here on Thursday.
“People are more interested in reforms than in any mid-term elections to parliament.At any rate, the present parliament has more than a year of life left, ” he pointed out.
The government had earlier said that it will carry out all the promised reforms within the first hundred days of the Sirisena regime, dissolve parliament on April 23, and hold mid-term elections in June.
The present parliament was elected in April 2010 and the next elections are due only in April 2016.
With the masses getting impatient with the slow progress on the reform front and also in the pursuit of corrupt elements in the Rajapaksa regime, government has realised that it has bitten more than it can chew.It has now seen the need for seeking more time.Government has also realised that if it does not fulfil the expectations of the people before going to the polls, it may inadvertantly bring about the revival of Rajapaksa.Impatient people are already saying that Rajapaksa was a better performer than Maithripala Sirisena or Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Postponement also helps the Sirisena government gather support in parliament which it now lacks.Technically, it is a minority government.If Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) accepts his “National Government” proposal, the cabinet and the Council of Ministers will be expanded greatly to include MPs from the SLFP and other parties in the opposition.Then the reforms, which need two thirds majority, can be passed.
“After that, parliament can be dissolved and parties can go their respective ways,” cabinet spokesman Senaratne said.