16 October, 2019

Blog

No Need To Increase 225 To 255

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

It is possible that the UNP is excessively concerned that they might be disadvantaged if the FPP constituencies are reintroduced, as they were before (160+5 seats), going by the results of the 2010 elections. However, that might not be the case. If the political trend is for change, away from the past practices, like at the presidential elections, then the main beneficiary would be the UNP. I say this purely as an independent observer.

On the other hand, the minor (or minority) parties do not need to worry much, if the FPP seats are accommodated within the PR system as it is implemented now. Only disadvantage will be the ‘overhang seats,’ that normally would go in favor of the major parties both in the South and in the North. However, this happening would be minimal at the next election given the tight competition between major parties or coalitions in the South.

The above also means or even otherwise, there is no need to formally increase the number of seats from 225 to 255 as proposed particularly by the ‘old guard’ of the SLFP. Only provision that should be made is to accommodate any ‘overhang seats’ in addition to the formal number of 225. This is the method used both in Germany and New Zealand. There are all possibilities that the overhang problem can be eliminated by reducing the number of FPP seats for example from 165 to 150 or 125 by rational delimitation after the next election.

Overall PR

It appears to me that political parties have now come to a better understanding about a rational or a better solution for the electoral system by agreeing to retain the present PR system as the overarching method while accommodating old 160+5 FPP seats within it for the time being. This is a considerable progress from what Dinesh Gunawardena Committee proposed.

ParlimentIt would be a great pity that if this opportunity is lost because of power competition between political parties or due to pure misunderstandings. Political parties do not seem to listen to each other. What I cannot understand is even the advocates of this system is calling it a ‘mixed system.’ This is not a mixed system. This is a valid PR system accommodating FPP seats within it.

The largely agreed system, if I am not completely mistaken, would employ both the 196 district PR allocations as at present, and the old 160+5 FPP seats within it. This is what I advocated in my very initial article on “Proposal for a Simple Electoral Reform” (Colombo Telegraph, 16 March 2015) except the multimember seats. Although the introduction of the multimember seats to the equation is little complicated, it is a good device to satisfy some of the minority parties. It is a good compromise.

No Need for a Large National List

However, what I cannot understand or agree is the increase of the national list PR allocation from 29 to 59. This is an increase of 30 seats (or over 100%) on the national list without much justification. These 59 MPs will not have any direct constituency or voter base unlike the other 196 MPs either directly linked to a seat or to a district.
It is true that the task of an MP is not purely welfare of constituency, but national. Yet the commitment to serve people should not be neglected. It is also true that there should be some room for accommodating deserving people who cannot contest grueling elections. But the present allocation (29) is good enough for that in principle. Any need to go beyond in that direction should be devised through a second chamber (Senate).

It might be true that major parties would fear that they might not find much room in the national list given the proposed deduction of overhang seats. But as I have shown, this would be only for the next election and even at the next, this might not be the case given tuff competition between the two main parties. Anyway, an electoral system should not be devised on the basis of immediate concerns. If a major party does not have enough room in the national list that also means it is well represented in the FPP and the district system.

Need for Compromise

Therefore for a viable compromise, the SLFP should withdraw its proposal to increase the number to 255 and the UNP should agree to 160+5 FPP seats, accommodated within district and national PR system.

All should remember that this is not a mixed system as such (or of the old style) but a PR system accommodating FPP seats within it.

If the parties (or major parties) agree for the basics of the proposed electoral system, then the 20A can be initiated in parliament with necessary other proposals for a free and fair election. The other provisions could include restrictions on election spending by candidates and parties, and basic agreement on qualifications for parliamentary candidates. There is also a need to scrutinize the voter lists to eliminate apparent ‘ghost voters.’

Under the new system, the next elections could be held with necessary preparations. The important thing is to agree upon the basic principles and passing of the 20A. Other details could be worked out by the elections department or the elections commission.

Nominations could be called for both 160 (+5) constituencies and district PR (variable for district). The JVP has asked for two ballot papers and this could be accommodated. One for the candidate in the constituency, and the other for the district PR. Both the JVP and the SLMC could benefit under this proposal although this may be little complicated to the voters. Any voter could use only one ballot paper without rejection as she or he so wishes.

Some Concerns

Two questions naturally arise when introducing the new system. (1) Would the voters easily understand the new system? (2) Would there be difficulties in enumerating the election results?

It is obvious that the voters would understand the system easily if there is only one ballot paper. The name of the candidate, the party and the party symbol would suffice to make the choice. If a second ballot paper is introduced for the district, it is little complicated, although not so complicated as the present ballot paper with preferential voting. This type of a second ballot paper is common to many countries with full or partial PR systems. With the support of the media and the civil society, not to mention political parties, the department of elections could easily explain the system to the people.

The enumeration of results would be a minor problem. Already, the district PR allocations are fixed and known. Once the party voting is counted, the allocation of seats could be easily determined for the district and for the national list. Even before that, the winners of the FPP seats could be announced as it is a simple counting on the ‘first past the post.’ Only the additional district PR and the allocation under the national list might be slightly delayed. However, with new technology, by the next morning of the elections a new government could be formed. The method could be easily understood even by the ordinary voters with perhaps interesting stories or interpretations.

Conclusion

The direct benefits of the new electoral system would be (1) to eliminate the hazardous preferential voting and competitions (2) to reduce the unnecessary election expenses (3) to minimize election violence and (4) most importantly to bring the elected MPs closer to the electors (voters) with tangible accountability. While a new electoral system is not a panacea, it could pave the way for new opportunities for strengthening democracy in the country.

If the elections are held under the present system, the composition and the nature of the Parliament might be more or less the same. A change of character and quality could be expected only if the new system is introduced.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    Dear Prof. Laksiri,

    I am also concerned about the overall increase in parliamentary seats. We need a qualitative improvement rather than a quantitative increase. The current parliament is probably the worst we have had.

    I yet feel that there should be more nominated members of quality to represent vital segments of society. The problem of course would be, who will decide on quality and how we will define it. I think this should be left to the party leaders. I see Sumanthiran and DEW Gunasekera as the only members who have justified theirs nominations to the current parliament.

    Further, I strongly feel that the present parliament should be dissolved soon. The 20th amendment can be considered by the new parliament, as it has been decided that the next election will be held under the prevailing system. The prolongation of the current agony could only paralyze and cripple the government further. MR and his cronies have not permitted any other option, despite much accommodation by the President and PM.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 3
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      Dr. Rajasingham – I totally agree with your sentiments and appreciated
      the sensible article written by Prof. Laksiri. As you said we need to
      have quality MPs to represent the people. Why the Govt. does not want to take India as an example and work on their system as they have 547 MPs for a population of 1.2 billion people and comparatively we should
      have less than 100 MPs. Why is the cost to maintain these increase of MPs considered by the President, who is concerned about cost cutting but all out to have the increase before the election and what difference this increase is going to make . More over the President will have to handle more hassles like cross over problems and how many cabinet minister he is going to have . Like in India MPs need to work hard for the salary and perks they get but in Sri lanka , MPs look for avenues to make money rather than listening to the woes of the people, they represent.

      President will loose his credibility if he still insist that electoral
      reforms should be taken up before the election, little realising that
      opposition strength is increasing day by dy.and he will be held totally
      responsible if the freedom recently achieved by the people is taken away. Lets not face the humiliation of UNP losing the no confidence motion against the PM, before the election and this will have a serious impact on the election.
      It is true that the President wants to deliver what he promised to the people but the political situation is different today with the minority
      govt.ruling against the wishes of the majority in the parliament.after
      the 100 days deadline had passed long back.

      • 2
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        Good points here! CLEANING UP POLITICAL CULTURE IS THE TOP PRIORITY, before 20th Amendment.

        The parliament of Sri Lanka which is a very small country should not have more than 100 PMs. The Cabinet should have 10 members.
        Today the Diya-wenna parliament is one of most corrupt spaces – next to Mahendran’s Central Bank!

        Priority is to REDUCE number of MPs rather than increase them and multiply the corruption.
        Code of conduct for politicians and minimum qualifications of a university degree from a RECOGNIZED university is necessary to enter parliament. Passing this should be a priority before the 20th Amendment is passed.
        Also mandatory ASSET DECLARATION of all who are seeking election is necessary.

        • 2
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          A sealing on election SPENDING should also be part of the electoral reform.

        • 2
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          Uni Degree??????!!!!!!!!!
          Hah hah haha!!!!!
          SB Dissanyake with a Degree from a ‘Recognised Uni’ , is he any better/worse than Mervin S , Vimal W , Sajin de Vas G or Ranjan Jayakody or Vasu
          I don’t need to mansion SBD balance sheet about CBK, Susanthika J
          What has the Uni added to his upbringing?

          “If a child lives with Criticism, they learn to Condemn,
          If a child lives with Hostility, they learn to Fight,
          If a child lives with Ridicule, they learn to be Shy,
          If a child lives with Shame, they learn to feel Guilty,
          If a child lives with Tolerance, they learn to be Patient,
          If a child lives with Encouragement, they learn Confidence,
          If a child lives with Praise, they learn to Appreciate,
          If a child lives with Fairness, they learn Justice,
          If a child lives with Security, they learn to have Faith,
          If a child lives with Approval, they learn to like themselves,
          If a child lives with Acceptance and Friendship,
          They learn to find Love in the world.”

          This is the Uni degree I would prefer.

          I heard that most of the attitudes/Values are developed in the earliest 2 -3 years of life.

          Take the case of DS Senanayake, Martin Wickramasinghe, Mrs B, John Major of UK, Paul Keating of Australia; what university degree they fallowed.

          Please don’t narrow down the democratic rights to choose your Rep (may be a Vedda). On our falls value systems. Leave it with the people

        • 2
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          Further to my earlier comment on ‘minimum qualifications’, what is the educational back groung of S Thomdaman the great politician of Sri Lanka and Gnanam of St Anthony’s Group.

          When I write these words, it came to my mind:(sorry if I waste your time but I am tempted to post it)
          This is a story that I had read a long time ago. The short story was written by Somerset Maugham, a writer who was very popular in the fifties and sixties (when we were at school). He has written a number of books, some of which are modern classics. What was attractive about his writing (to us at that time) was, that he wrote mostly about the East (Far East actually)during the height of the colonial era – the British Raj, tea and rubber planters and the life in the colonies.

          His story was about an old verger (a lowly job in the church) at St. Martin’s in London. The verger was dismissed by the new vicar because he could not read nor write. Going home, he badly wanted to have a smoke and was looking for a tobacconist. He could not find one on that street, nor the next nor the one after that. Then he decides to start his own shop in the area and the story goes on about him becoming wealthy etc until the bank manager wonders “what would you be if you could read and write” and the reply (now famous) “I would be the verger at St Martins.

      • 1
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        Not only to cut down costs but also to cut down corruption.

    • 2
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      Dear Dr. Rajasingham,

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I always thought that we have very similar views on many matters in principle. I would, however, advocate a Senate to bring professional talent to the legislative process without completely depending on the national list. It is also my feeling that it would be better to have the next elections under the proposed system, if it is FPP within PR. That might be the best way to improve the quality of the parliament. Also a new system would give a boost to the people to take control of the situation. It can create a new enthusiasm.

      On a practical consideration, it is my reading that if the election is held under the present system, then the result would be a hung parliament. At the elections, the SLFP will be split as SLFP (MS) and SLFP (MR). The SLFP (MS) will be highly disadvantaged under the present system. However, this would not be the case under FPP/PR. A clean victory for the UNP is also doubtful under the present system although they are too optimistic. The decisive method of defeating a Rajapaksa come back is the January 8th formula. This means a common candidate/platform. This can best be applied in FPP seats either as common candidates or no context pacts between the UNP, SLFP (MS), TNA, JHU etc. If they compete each other, it would be a disaster.

      On the question of the mess in parliament, I know, it is intolerable. Therefore, our natural instinct is to ask for an early dissolution. Even I have done so. But we should have patience to systematically expose the rascals.

      • 2
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        Prof. Laksiri,

        Thanks for your response. An upper house or Senate would be desirable. I ,however, remember how the Senate under the Soulbury constitution was rendered ineffective. Further, if it is designed to elect members on a provincial basis, somewhat on the lines of the U.S Senate and assigned specific functions, it may prove more effective. We may also need a major revision of the constitution. It should definitely be an elected body.

        I was an advocate for the next general elections to be under a new system. However, I am so disgusted with the present parliament that I have come to the conclusion that anything can be better than it!

        I feel the UNP support base has expanded considerably because of MR antics and the exposure of scandals and corruption during his rule. MR has exposed his ugly side more after fish defeat. Further, the people across the island have taken a liking to Maithripala Sirisena, his personality and ways, in a big way. Whoever contests with Sirisena support will garner votes. The split in the SLFP is inevitable and anyone promoted by MR will not draw much votes. MR will be liability to a considerable extent. Further, the idea of a ‘ National’ post-election seems to be an attractive proposition to most people. The people want their problems and concerns to be addressed and do not a repeat of partisan politics.

        I also feel that it is time the smaller parties are weeded out. One and two parliamentary parties are holding the whole country to ransom, by boxing above their weight.

        We deserve better and that too soon.

        Dr.RN

      • 2
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        Dr.laksiri

        “The SLFP (MS) will be highly disadvantaged under the present system. However, this would not be the case under FPP/PR”

        Nothing mentioned in your long article about this.Why?Only writing for sirisena,not for the benefit of the people.

        “On a practical consideration, it is my reading that if the election is held under the present system, then the result would be a hung parliament.”

        great.You are the best pollster in town.Did you also predict that maithri will beat mahinda by less than 500000 votes?I did in CT.

        Hung parliament.so what?With quality that comes into it that would be great for the people.Where is the minimum qualification requirement in the 20th amendment,which is supposed to be about electoral reform and completely ignores the most important one which is the people want quality,not quantity.40% of the current parliamentrians are w/o ord levels according to our amarasiri.

        When prabhaharan got the planes i called my good friend,a sinhalese in srilanka and asked him whether he is not worried that a suicide plane will hit the parliament.he started to laugh and laugh and said machan,that would be the best thing that could happen for this country.naturally prabha did not want to do it.

        “The decisive method of defeating a Rajapaksa come back is the January 8th formula.”

        So all this is about defeating the rajapakshes.never so that in your article which was telling us that the proposed electoral reforms are the best thing that could happen to srilanka.

        I thought they have already been defeated,and not only that the SLFP is split too.If the SLFP is split who is the main beneficiary?The UNP of course.You are bringing in the rajapakshe goni billa like gota always brings the LTTE boogie man.

        If sirisena’s SLFP gets less seats than rajapakshes SLFP,that does not mean that rajapakshe is going to be the prime minister.

        Just tell it as it is,that you want to give siri leg up to show that the chandrika SLFP is more popular than the rajapakshe SLFP.

        As`long as neither chandrika or mahinda who had two terms and ,don’t become the prime minister the people will be happy.The will want to give ranil a chance to see what he can do.Is is a tough ask to let a guy 5 years to show what he can do when the other two got 12 each to show what they could do.People would not mind giving ranil a fair go,especially after their experience of the other two.

        If the siri SLFP gets less than the mahinda SLFP,that will b because the people will be remembering chandrika’s governance.

        Overall mahinda produced better results than chandrika,but where he went wrong was the uncouth behaviour of his “ape minihas” that he turned a blind eye to.Also he and gota are racists at heart.

        Let the people look at the pluses and minuses of chandrika and mahinda and decide who they prefer.no need to manipulate the electoral system for this childish victory of who is more popular because neither is going to be the prime minister anyway.

        Siri has got nothing to do with the to elephants in the room chandrika and mahinda fighting it out.He got his reward as siri,the man people knew as a clean guy in politics.

        so don’t call it siri’s SLFP.It is not.It is the bandaranayaka SLFP and the rajapakshe SLFP fighting it out.If the rajapkshe SLFP gets more seats than the bandaranayaka SLFP that will not be a bad reflection on siri.He has got his job voted by the people who liked him.One of my friend too switched from mahinda to siri when he threw his hat in the ring,but would never have voted for CBK or ranil.

        So Dr.Laksiri,let the people decide without all these manipulaions to try to make childish points of bandaranayakes over rajapakshes.People are not interested about these has beens.Ranil is going to be the prime minister full stop because people want him to have a fair go and judge him by his results.

        When it comes to the economy and ethnic reconciliation and harmony,i believe ranil will produce the best results of all three because he is the brainiest of them but the least brawniest.

        people have had enough of 24 years of brawn They like to have a change of 5 years of brains.Sirisena is also a guy just like ranil,all brain nd no brawn and they are a good team and i envisage a great 5 years in the future.One of the best in fact for srilanka,but high time the elections were held to start it.

        “Therefore, our natural instinct is to ask for an early dissolution. Even I have done so. But we should have patience to systematically expose the rascals.”

        What are exposing?You are arresting people for trivial charges when they have committed big crimes.Is that exposure or witch hunt?You are only losing votes the more you delay the election with such tomfoolery.people are not going to be fooled all time with grand statements of 18 billion dollars without a dollar being found.These things take time.over the next 5 years everything will get exposed little by little,you can’t extend your 100 day pledge to do this.Siri will ose his credibility to keep a promise and investment is at a standstill and people will be suffering without income and you will get the backlash.

      • 0
        1

        Laksiri Fernando.
        It is interesting that you declare that you and Rajaratnam share the same sentiments and share the same political objectives. Of course Rajaratnam does not mince his words in his support for the agenda of the resurgent separatist movement spearheaded by the diaspora who have become bedfellows with Americans and the west, who motivated by surreptitious geopolitical reasons of gaining a foothold in the Indian Ocean. But it defies logic and reasoning why you have joined hands with them. The answer, Isuspect lies in the vast sums of money circulating in this country and abroad, funded by the west and Americans to destabilise the is country and tear it apart like what the Americans and the west were successful in many countries in South America,,Bermuda, Egypt, Libya,Iraq and Maldives.
        You being domiciled in Australia brought up in Suburbs of Colombo and a non- buddhist has every reason to support the cause of diaspora and the neo-colonialists.

    • 0
      0

      I am very much concerned about the overall increase in parliamentary seats. More people like the author should get together and educate the people on parliamentary affairs if we want to avoid advancing backwards any more.

  • 4
    2

    the people are not asking for the following

    1)increase parliamentarians from 225 to 255.In fact they want the opposite,reduce them to 200 because people have to fund the PC’s too.

    2)Increase national list MP’s from 25 to 59.In fact they want nobody sent to parliament without first facing them.So scrap the 25 to zero.

    3)Bring in 165 MP’s on the First past the post system.people do not want this because they want each vote to count in an election without a winner take all system that gives power disproportionate to their vote.They can remember what and wha sirimavo and JRJ did when they got power into their hands with the two thirds majority.In the 1970 elections UNP got only 14 seats with 40% of votes.The 40% of voters were played ou without any power at all in the parliament.

    If you don’t believe me have a referendum and ask the people the 3 main points i have given whether they agree or don’t.

    The authors arguments are all BS and pathetic.This is how even good people start to lose their credibility when they espouse causes that are not in the people’s interest but in the interest of some special interest groups to whom they are beholden to such as sirisena.

    The pen is indeed nowadays mightier than the sword with the internet.

    The authors arguments are BS and pathetic

  • 1
    0

    We Sri Lankans are well known and must be rewarded for complicating issues rather than simplifying any problem in hand. What is this BS of “past/post” etc? The people want to elect their representatives to nominate them in the Legislature. For that they want to vote a person of their choice to represent them, in the “seat” in parliament. That “seat” was the most popular and commonly understood word. Why complicate this. There can be case for a slight increase in the number of “seats” depending on the increase in population and its distribution. For that perhaps a delimitation is a necessity. What ever the reasoning the word “seat” has been embedded in the minds of the people and let it remain so. Now comes the “proportional” voting and a certain number of seats allocated to accommodate that. Let that proportional system be devoid of any “communal” or “religious” representations. That “Divide” must be eliminated and that “proportional” seat allocation be done on the “Party System”. That will prompt the people to read,understand, and support a “Manifesto” of a political party and that is what we have to achieve at the end and definitely not politics based on “ethnicity” or “religion”.

    So to achieve the above goals, let the people vote – one for the candidate to represent them on a “seat” basis and one to vote for the political party that they think offering the most feasible and beneficial manifesto. The people can mark two votes in one ballot paper viz. one for the candidate and one for the party. The number of seats on the party system can be allocated on the basis of number polled to a list of candidates filed at the time of nomination. Isn’t it that simple? Please do not confuse the people with this jargon of “past/post”; “proportional”;”preferential” etc. etc. Let the system be understood by the “Simple Simon” and make it a popular system of voting. For the moment the “PADITHS” must take a back seat.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Prof:
    Whilst reading you article a message received in my Cell-phone says Cabinet approves the 20thA as follows.
    Total no:of seats 225.
    First Past the Post 125.
    PR. 75.
    National list. 25.
    This was proposed by PM.
    Cheers!

    • 1
      1

      If what you say is true,then ranil as usual is digging the UNP grave.Last time in 2002 he brought down the UNP by trying to appease the LTTE.This time he will weaken it by trying to appease the SLFP.He should have driven a harder bargain on this.If he had proposed reduction of MPS to 200 with no national list and proportional representation of 100 MP’s,his and the UNP’s stocks would have soared before the next election.

      Bloody fool indeed.No backbone to stand up for anything.Quickly capitulates.How can he be a leader in the mould of preme,gamini,lalith.

  • 1
    0

    Democracy in Sri Lanka is a farce.

    As it is, 225 members in Parliamentarians is too expensive. The return on investment is negative. The intellect and integrity of most of them is worse than than that of prostitutes, who service-wise are undoubtedly more useful.

    If you consider two of the best known you will see my point:

    1. Mahinda Rajapaksa, bandit and thief; totally uncultured, uneducated. Just couple of days back he threatened that if ‘Yahapalakayos’ lost the next elections ‘his people’ will finish them off (lankanewsweb).

    2. Ranil Wickremasinghe, despite his pedigree and education, has shown no intelligence, foresight, skill or guts that is required of a politician. The other day MaRa threatened that if the Yahapalayakos lost the next elections, that his people will finish off the Yahapalakayos (Lankanewsweb). This is clearly incitement. But the gutless RW ignores it – does not instruct Police to take action.

    It is very disappointing to note that none of the academics / intellectuals have found it necessary to present a case for a drastic reduction of MPs – say not more than 75 MPs and 10 Ministers.

  • 0
    0

    Navin.

    You type…
    …But the gutless RW ignores it-does not instruct Police to take action….

    Perhaps,RW should ask MaRa Fo Guck yourself;[ Your priceless line!]

  • 3
    0

    Laksiri
    In your
    “Conclusion” you say
    “The direct benefits of the new electoral system would be …..
    …(4) most importantly to bring the elected MPs closer to the electors (voters) with tangible accountability. “
    But I prefer to add:
    ‘most importantly to bring the candidates closer to be the law abiding contestants, accountable for all their deeds commissions or omissions. They are answerable in election petitions, after the election. (Irrespective whether you win or lose).’
    Historically in first parliament Kandy electorate had to go for 3 times elections due to unseating the elected member and many to follow in the other constituencies and subsequent parliaments up to 1977.
    If rule of law prevails in all faculties including campaigning for elections, the candidates ‘may’ have the fear of loosing the hard earned win ay a court of law due to the malpractices being proved.
    My expectations are: I still live in the era of 1947-1977, in Values and Culture.

  • 1
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    Dear Laksiri:
    I can not agree with your criticism of 196+59 MMP proposal. If we give districts a total of 196 seats as the district PR allocation and also ensure that all 165 FPP winners are returned we get overhangs or 24, 34,33 and 26 respectively, for 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010 general elections, respectively. THe number 59 is really not the National list. The number should be called the National Reserve. We need that as as a buffer to accommodates the overhangs.

    your proposal dismisses the overhang problem as one that can be corrected by adding a few more seats. If past election results would have given overhangs from 24-34, it is safe to assume a higher number. Then you will find that we may in fact need 250-255 seats in the parliament.
    With regards,
    Sujata

    • 1
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      Dear Sujatha,

      I don’t think it should be called ‘National Reserve’ even if I agree with your logic of increasing that tier to accommodate ‘overhangs.’ Both in Germany and New Zealand, it is called the list tier/s. In Sri Lanka we already have two list tiers, provincial and national.

      When we move from the present to a future system, First we have to decide about the desirable size of the chamber. I am not inclined to increase the number from the general level of 225. I have seen an argument about the population increase. I discount that argument because of the provincial councils and allowing future room for a possible second chamber.

      Then we have to work out feasible numbers for the nominal tier, the provincial list tier and the national list tier. We already have, in my view, feasible numbers for the provincial list PR tier (196) and the national list PR tier (29) that could finally reflect in (225) seats in the chamber what the parties can get at polls. This is the overarching proportional system. As you have pointed out, if the FPP is 165, then there can be a considerable overhang. In your opinion, this should be accommodated by increasing the ‘national list’ but in my opinion this should be adjusted by reducing the nominal tier or FPP. I would say it should be around 150 in the future.

      Even if you say that the nominal tier or FPP should remain at or around 165, then the ‘overhang’ accommodation should logically come through increasing the provincial list PR tier and not the national list PR tier. Why? Because if we build on the prevailing system, our system is more akin to the German system at this level. Therefore, if you had said that the provincial list PR tier should be increased from 196 to, let’s say, 126 it could have made more sense.

      What I have proposed is to have the next elections (1) on the basis of the old 165 FPP accommodated within the present provincial PR (196) and the national PR (29) with the possibility of overflow. This would be ideal for a Constituent Assembly that most parties talk about. (2) Then re-demarcate and reduce the number of FPP to around 150 which can eliminate/reduce the overhangs in the future.

      I don’t see any point in hurriedly fixing an electoral system if it is not for the next election. I have proposed just a simple solution based on what we already have and know both before 1978 and after. This would not disadvantage anyone, major parties or minor parties. I would like to see a change in representation here and now. For this I don’t see any need to increase the number from 225 to 255, particularly at the national level.

  • 0
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    Prof. Laksiri and Dr.Sujatha,

    Now the figure is 237. What is the logic?
    Can we have your comments?
    I hope it is not a political compromise! Should be a decision our politicians must be making? Should it not be an exercise for a ‘ National Commission’, considering the quality of our parliament and the extremely partisan cum selfish approach to national questions.

    Dr.RN

    • 0
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      Dr Rajasingham,

      In all these proposals although figures are given, the method is not explained. Not yet. Therefore, I cannot explain why the total is 237. Even in the case of the present system, some figures are arbitrary depending on political considerations or bargaining. Let me take the opportunity to explain or understand some other matters.

      One common element in PM’s (125+75+25) and President’s second (145+55+37) proposals is the counting of 200 as the district tier (125+75=200; 145+55=200). If the reasoning is to declare beforehand how many seats are entitled for a district/s like the present declaration of 196 as the total district PR, it makes sense.

      The rational method therefore is to deduct the number of FPP seats a party wins from what it gets under the district PR. If that is the case, both proposals are to that extent logical. However, respective two figures, 75 and 55 do not make sense. Perhaps those were given for public consumption (which is wrong in my opinion) or convenience to show how many FPP seats are there in proposed schemes. In PM’s proposal the number of PFF seats are 125 which is not feasible. In President’s second or latest proposal it is 145 which is feasible.

      Under both proposals, the major parties get mostly FPP seats, and minor parties would benefit from the district PR which is 200 altogether. Therefore the increase from 196 to 200 although small is good for the minor parties.

      In PM’s proposal, the national PR or national list is 25 and in President’s second proposal it is 37. However, it is an improvement from President’s initial proposal of thumping 59 which was not necessary in my opinion. As the national list allocations are proportion to what political parties get nationally, I think the distribution will be reasonable for all parties although party hierarchies have the say which cannot be avoided.

      I think we are getting there. Since the FPP seats are 145, there won’t be much or no overhang out of 200. If the scheme agrees to deduct any overhangs from the national list it is very much better. I think that would be the case.

      However, my concern is that the present scheme cannot be applied to the next coming elections because delimitation is necessary from 160 to 145. President’s first proposal (165+31+59) could be applied however although the national list is exorbitant (59). The reason for this excess is understandable because the 165 FPP had to be accommodated within 196 district PR with possible high overhangs. If those were to be deducted from a limited national list of present 29 then the major parties are constrained in the national list. However, the scheme might be ok as an interim that means only for the next elections. It is not a good scheme as the permanent.

      Therefore in a sense we now have a framework for an Interim as well as for a Permanent. I still believe that we can and should go with 29 national list and overall 225 for the next election. If we hold the next election under the present system that is going to be the case anyway.

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        Prof. Laksiri,

        Thank you.

        Dr.RN

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    yes i agree increasing 225 to 255 leads to bring son, son-in-law, wife, cousin, neighbor, pimp like Sajin vaas, Mano Ganeshan to think his brother in opposition camp, heirs….

    possibly in 255 Mujahid, Gota, Nimal Lanza, Ranga, cobra Gnanasaraya, kudu Merviya, kudu dumiya, hora Cabraal, KP, Karunaa, PillAYAan will be easily come to parliament

    we need to go down 225 to 175 for this small island.

    255 ok if amends MP’s don’t get facilities from public funds, MP’s need to declares assets strictly state audits in vigil. no foreign visits. no exemptions no TAX AMNESTIES

    255 unacceptable

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