Government to withdraw controversial Electoral Reforms Bill
[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 August 2009, 16:55 GMT]
The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms
Wednesday decided to completely withdraw the draft bill outlawing
political parties that signify a race or a religion and to table a new
draft bill in the parliament. The decision was taken at the PSC
meeting held the same day at the parliamentary complex after Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) filed fundamental right violation petitions separately challenging proposed Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill tabled in the parliament last week, political sources said.
Ministers Mr. D. E. W. Gunasekara of the Sri Lanka Communist Party and
Professor Tissa Vitharane of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and Mr.Rauf
Hakim, leader of the SLMV vehemently objected to the controversial
clauses, de-recognizing the political parties with the bearing of
religion or a race.
The argument put forward by Minister Dinesh Gunawardene that new bill was tabled not to register new political parties that signify race or
religion and not to de-recognize parties that have been already
registered by the Commissioner of Elections, was rejected by leaders
of LSSP, CP and SLMC.
The PSC thereafter decided to draft a fresh Electoral Reforms Bill and to table it in the parliament after being ratified by the PSC.
Attorney General Mr. Mohan Peiris, the Commissioner of Elections
Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake and Tamil parliamentarians of the TNA
Mr.Gajendrakumar Ponnamblam, and Mr.Suresh Premachchandran were also present at the PSC meeting. PSC Chairman Dinesh Gunawardene advised the Attorney General to submit to the Supreme Court the decision taken by the PSC when the FR petitions filed by the TNA and SLMC were taken in the Supreme Court for inquiry.