A five-member committee was appointed at the SLFP group meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday to help bring about electoral reforms as the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
The committee headed by parliamentarian Prof. G. L. Peiris comprises MPs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dilan Perera, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva.
UFPA MP Ranjith Zoysa, addressing the media soon after the SLFP group meeting, said that the committee had been appointed by the President after SLFP MPs had informed him that they would never vote for the 19th Amendment unless it was coupled with electoral reforms.
MPs Ranjith Zoysa, Dilan Perera, G.L. Peiris, S. B. Dissanayake, Mahinda Samarasinghe and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa expressed their views at the meeting; they pointed out that there was nothing wrong with the 19th Amendment being taken up for debate but they would not participate in the vote if the electoral reforms were not taken up simultaneously.
MP Zoysa said: “The 19th Amendment can be taken up for debate on April 20 as scheduled but there is no possibility of dissolving Parliament on April 23 because the electoral reforms, too, have to be taken up, but no timeframe has been set.
If the government agrees to our position, Parliament cannot be dissolved on April 23.”
“The meeting was cordial,” he said.
The group meeting was held at the parliament complex yesterday morning.
Asked whether the issue of naming the party’s prime ministerial candidate had been taken up, the MP responded in the negative. That matter would be taken up only after the dissolution of Parliament, he added.