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.


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