UNP sticks to 225 MPs

Published : 11:08 am  June 1, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Kelum Bandara
Amid uncertainty  over the changes in the electoral system which are to comprise the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the United National Party (UNP), the dominant party in the government, announced its stand yesterday, saying it was opposed to increasing number of parliamentary seats from the present 225. Earlier, President Maithripala 55Sirisena , in a Cabinet paper, had proposed to increase the number of seats to 255. To these, he proposed that 160 MPs be elected from single member constituencies and five from multi-member constituencies according to the first-past-the-post system; another 31 according to the proportional representation system (by district), and 59 from the National List.

Leader of the House and Plantations Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Daily Mirror yesterday that his party wanted a combination of the first-past-the-post system and the proportional representation system, but did not want the number of seats increased. “We are for the election of 125 members from the constituencies and the rest according to the proportional representation system. We cannot agree to increasing the number of seats. Public opinion  is against it. If we increase the number, it will be a burden on the people. There are 400 provincial council members serving as people’s representatives in addition to the MPs,” he said.

Mr. Kiriella said there were only 550 MPs in India which had a population of 1,300 million.

“We have only 20 million. So why do we need more MPs?” he asked.