‘Preview debate’

Published : 11:07 am  June 23, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yohan Pereraand Kelum Bandara
Parliament will hold an adjournment debate on the 20th Amendment today and tomorrow as requested by several political parties, House Leader Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday.  He told  that the United National Party (UNP) would move the motion for the debate.

Mr. Kiriella said several MPs including Dinesh Gunawardene, Tissa Vitharana, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Rauff Hakeem had called for a two-day adjournment debate on the 20th Amendment.

Several party leaders have said that such a debate was important because their stance on this piece of legislation should be known to the people.

However, Mr. Kiriella said Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva and Chief Opposition Whip W.D.J. Seneviratne had objected to this debate.  Party leaders met in the parliamentary complex yesterday to  discuss  the matters to be taken up during this week in the House. The  UNP sought to reschedule the business of the House as a means of prioritising a debate on a preview of the electoral reforms.  

The 20th Amendment has been gazetted and seeks to introduce a  mix of the first-past-the-post and the proportional  representation systems under which it is proposed to elect 237 parliamentarians. SLFP was skeptical  about the UNP’s move to have a preview even before the  presentation of  the Bill in parliament though the UNP has insisted that this debate be taken up today at any cost.   The opposition argues that there will  be nothing left to debate on the new Bill  if a preview is taken up in  the House today before the Bill is tabled.

Tamil National  Alliance (TNA) Leader R. Sampanthan also spoke in favour of the UNP’s  position.  The small parties are opposed to the new electoral system and have  even vowed to defeat any attempt to enact it in parliament.

20A Gazette not final – MS


By Sujith Hewajulige
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that the gazette on the 20 Amendment to the Constitution was only a guideline and not the final document, and it could be amended if so desired in the future.

“This is not the final document. Anyone can give new ideas about this. We are open to suggestions. We will welcome everything whether good or bad. Only then would we be able to work out a satisfactory solution,” he said, addressing an event in Kotikawatta.