President Maithripala Sirisena, as a part of fulfilling his election manifesto promise, today met with the party leaders to seek their opinions and proposals to change the current preferential voting system. This meeting was held at the Presidential Secretariat.
President Maithripala stated that the peoples’ opposition has been drawn at present on the preferential voting system in the same manner as the agitations were conducted against the unrestricted powers of the executive presidency. He further said that his personal opinion is that the preferential voting system should be replaced with a mixed electoral system.
The President in his 100-day programme pledged to set up an all-party committee to put forward proposals to replace the current preference vote system and replace it with an mixed electoral system that ensures representation of individual members for parliamentary constituencies, with mechanisms for proportionality.
Accordingly the government has already commenced preliminary activities to change the system, the President said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva and leaders of other political parties and secretaries were present at the meeting. The Election Commissioner, the Attorney General and other senior government officials also attended the meeting.
The meeting has focused in-depth attention on an appropriate electoral system devoid of the preferential system. Dinesh Gunawardena Committee Report on Electoral Reform, which proposes a Mixed Electoral System combining Proportional Representation and the first-past-the-post system, was also discussed at the meeting today.
The President has instructed to appoint a subcommittee regarding the changing of the electoral system, if necessary.
The President further said that all politicians must center their vision on a philosophy and not on financial values in order to enhance their image.