The Chairman of the Election Commission, Mr. Nimal Punchihewa stated that a new system should be set up for the registration of political parties. The Chairmant stated the above at the Select Committee of Parliament to Identify Appropriate Reforms of the Election Laws and the Electoral System and to Recommend Necessary Amendments, yesterday (29). Some political parties are limited to one district. He also said that at present there are problems in the party registration criteria.
Mr. Nimal Punchihewa also suggested to the Committee that political parties should be classified as nationally recognized political parties, registered parties and regional parties and that a system should be established to register them.
The Parliamentary Select Committee met under the chairmanship of the Hon. Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Parliament premises.
The Elections Commission also suggested that at least 24 hours be given to resolve technical issues that may arise during the handing over of nominations. The Commission was of the view that the depositing of deposits, which was restricted to independent political parties, should be extended to recognized political parties as well. They also said that the method of depositing money should be revised from time to time.
The distribution of official ballot papers is done only by the Postal Department and the Commission pointed out the need to use alternative methods for this purpose. The Commission also suggested that the election laws be amended to enable voters queuing up to cast their ballots at the end of polling time to cast their vote.
“The Elections Commission is of the view that a mixed proportional representation system is appropriate for the country,” said its Chairman Nimal Punchihewa. He suggested that the number of seats in Parliament should remain the same at 225, of which 140 should be elected at the divisional level, 70 under the district proportional system and 15 under the national list.
He said that after the submission of nominations, candidates should be given the opportunity to use postal voting and that the postal voting opportunity should also be extended to essential services such as health.
The Elections Commission was of the view that the right to early voting should be guaranteed and special polling stations should be set up for this purpose.
The Elections Commission emphasized that there should be a mechanism to recall the people’s representatives and a suitable mechanism should be set up for that. Mr. Nimal Punchihewa emphasized at the Committee that special attention should be paid to the use of dual ballot papers at the stage of considering new amendments and that the Elections Commission should be given the power to prosecute election offences.
He also stated that action should be taken to establish a new election tribunal.
He also said that the commission is taking a firm stand on controlling election expenses.
Hon. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva stated in the Committee that the preferential system should be abolished to control such expenditure.
Mr. Nimal Punchihewa pointed out in the Committee that after the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, media criteria could be applied not only to the state media but also to the private media.
The Parliamentary Select Committee also discussed the expeditious holding of the Provincial Council Elections. Members of the Attorney General’s Department also expressed their views in this regard.
Hon. Ministers G. L. Peiris, Hon. Members of Parliament Ranjith Madduma Bandara, M.A Sumanthiran, Rauf Hakeem, Mano Ganeshan, Madura Vithanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were also present at the meeting.
The next meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee is scheduled to be held today 30th of September, said the Secretary to the Select Committee, Deputy Secretary General & Chief of Staff of Parliament Ms. Kushani Rohanadheera.