Present electoral system unfavourable: Lankan PM

Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has termed the current preferential voting system as "unfavourable".

Colombo: Terming the current preferential voting system in Sri Lanka as "unfavourable", Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has said the multiple choices provided to the voter under the parliamentary poll system is causing "intra-party rivalry and confusion".
The present preferential voting system will have to be changed in order to create a friendly political environment within the country, the prime minister told an election rally in Eastern Trincomalee.

"The electoral system of the country under the preferential vote system should be changed as it has created unhealthy rivalry among both candidates and voters. It has also treated division and confusion," he said.

Under the general elections procedure, a voter in Sri Lanka has to choose the party and subsequently can vote for three candidates out of the preferred political party.

For changing the current system, he asked voters to ensure that the ruling United People`s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) gets a two thirds majority in Parliament during the general elections, scheduled to be held on April 8. This will enable bringing in constitutional amendments to change the electoral system and much needed changes in other spheres as well, he said.

The premier said the system introduced during the time of former president JR Jayewardene had contributed to more conflicts and confusion creating divisions among the people.

"It also ensured that no party was able to form a stable government."

Meanwhile, Basil Rajapaksa, senior presidential adviser and brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also called for changing the current system.

"They were in the same platform as we were. One of my elder brothers received 1,00,000 votes and came in first while the other came in fifth. The people will decide that," the newsfirst website quoted Basil as saying.

Basil, however, did not name the concerned brothers or provide any detail of the period of the incident.

"Based on JR`s preferential voting system, if we clash, then it is the party supporters or the voters who will fall into trouble," said Basil.

During the rally, the prime minister said places like Trincomalee, where development was retarded due to terror activity, has seen unprecedented economic gains in recent times. He also promised further progress in the region. Stating both development and harmony among all should go hand in hand, Wickremasinghe asked the people to return UPFA with an overwhelming mandate on April 8, to fulfil the their expectations.