Hold non-binding referendum with general elections: Moragoda

The founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, Milinda Moragoda proposed that the government should hold a non-binding referendum together with the general election.

In a statement, he said the provision for such a move was available under Article 86 of the Constitution and proposed four issues to be taken up as questions for the referendum.

The questions are:

  • “Prefer a full-fledged presidential system or a Westminster-style parliamentary system”
  • “Wish to repeal the provincial council system and replace it with empowered local councils”.
  • ”Should the present proportional representation system for parliamentary elections be replaced with a first-past-the-post system?
  • ‘Support the establishment of a Senate as part of a bicameral system in order to address national issues related to religious, ethnic and regional diversity?.

Mr. Moragoda said though it could make the voting process more cumbersome, holding a referendum on one or more of these above-mentioned issues together with the election, would be more economical and efficient than holding it separately.

“At a global level in many countries, referendums on both national and local issues are conducted as a matter of course in conjunction with elections. Importantly, such a referendum would give the citizens of Sri Lanka an opportunity to participate in the policy-making process and would make apparent the will of the people.

Furthermore, the referendum would create a moral impetus on the new parliament and the President to take the views of the electorate into account in the context of the constitutional reform process,” the statement said.