The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Friday declared that it wouldn’t support the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in its present form, under any circumstances, top party spokesperson, Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran told The Island.
The TNA parliamentary group comprises 16 members, including two National List MPs.
Asked whether the four-party coalition was having discussions with the government regarding the 20th Amendment that would vest in Parliament the powers of dissolved Provincial Council, MP Sumanthiran ruled out any agreement on proposed Amendment as, he said, it didn’t reflect understanding among all political parties represented in parliament.
The proposed controversial 20th Amendment will also enable all Provincial Council elections to be held simultaneously and for Parliament to determine the date of dissolution of all PCs.
Attorney-at-law Sumanthiran emphasised that the government could have avoided unnecessary trouble had it prepared the Bill in accordance with the agreement reached among political parties following a series of consultations over a period of time.
The TNA consists of the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the PLOTE, TELO and EPRLF.
ITAK heavyweight MP Sumanthiran explained that political parties represented in parliament subsequent to a spate of deliberations had accepted what he called 60:40 Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system in respect of Provincial Council polls.
Uva Provincial Council will be the last PC to complete its term on Oct. 8, 2019.
MP Sumanthiran pointed out that there hadn’t been a previous consensus among political parties regarding unified electoral representation system.
In answer to a query, MP Sumanthiran said that the agreement on 60:40 MMP system in respect of Provincial Councils should be examined against the backdrop of the political parties’ readiness to accept the same formula for both parliamentary and Local Government polls.
In accordance with the agreed formula, which, MP Sumanthiran said, had been discussed at the Steering Committee spearheading the constitutional making process, 60 per cent of members would be elected and 40 per cent named.
Political sources said that the UNP-SLFP combine couldn’t secure a two-thirds majority in parliament without the backing of the TNA (16 seats).
The UNP and the UPFA secured 106 and 95 seats, respectively at the last general election in August 2015, out of the 95 seats obtained by the UPFA, about 52 members joined the Joint Opposition (JO) at the expense of President Maithripala Sirisena.