New Tamil alliance opposes electoral system approved by Cabinet

The newly-formed alliance of minor Tamil parties in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), has expressed its opposition to the electoral system agreed upon by the Cabinet yesterday.

The leader of the TPA, Mano Ganesan, said his alliance vehemently opposed the system approved by the Cabinet which keeps the number of parliamentarians at 225.

The Cabinet yesterday approved the electoral system proposed in the 20th Amendment by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
According to the Prime Minister’s proposal the number of seats in Sri Lanka’s Parliament will remain at 225. Earlier the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) proposed a Parliament with 255 members.

Manoganesan1The 225-MP Parliament will include 125 MPs elected under the first-past-the-post system, 75 MPs under the District Proportional Representation (PR) system and 25 MPs through the national list.

Ganesan said he was surprised by the sudden change of the number of MPs from 255 to 225. He added that the President had suggested a system with 255 MPs, to which the TPA agreed.

He further stated that the party was for the 20th Amendment but against the decision to formulate a system without a greater number of MPs elected through the first-past-the-post system.

The TPA demanded a system with 150 MPs selected through the first-past-the-post system, 75 through Proportional Representation and 25 through the national list.

Ganeshan said minorities would not be adequately represented in Parliament under the approved system.

The TPA’s Deputy President and Plantation and Infrastructure Development Minister Palani Digambaram said he opposed the approved electoral system and would vote against the 20th Amendment when it was presented in Parliament.

The Minister told the local Daily Mirror that it would be impossible to have a multi-member seat in the Nuwara Eliya District if the number of MPs was not increased by up to 255 as proposed in the original draft. The Minister opposed the eventual configuration during last night’s Cabinet meeting.
The TPA leader said he had informed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe of his party’s stance and would meet him and President Maithripala Sirisena shortly to discuss the matter further.

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