Sri Lanka parties still not agreed on electoral reforms: Hakeem

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s political parties have still not reached agreement on constitutional changes regarding electoral reform but small parties want to come up with a common stand, Urban Development Minister Rauf Hakeem, said.

Hakeem said a meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena including all parties had ended without finality.

"Small parties including those of minority communities and politically small parties like Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna will meet tonight at my home to come up with a common stand," Hakeem told reporters in Colombo.

Sri Lanka is however separately expected to make constitutional reforms involving reducing the powers of the President and empowering independent commissions, on which broad agreement has already been reached.

The proposed electoral reforms involve electing a part of the legislature, perhaps 160 out of 225 on a mixture of first-past-the-post system and appointing only the rest through a proportional system of representation.

The current proportional system, where candidates have to campaign through an entire district instead of only a seat as in the first-past-the-post system has ballooned campaing finance costs and led to corruption, legislators such as Rajitha Senaratne has said.

But small parties, which are now able to appoint legislators on a national total of votes may be wiped out by a new system.

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