Mano Ganesan, leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), has warned that if the proportional representation system is changed, the scattered minorities will be left without representation.
“50 percent of Tamils and 65 percent of Muslims outside North-East Sri Lanka are living scattered in the southern districts. If today’s proportional representation system is changed, the representation of these people in the provincial councils and parliaments will be reduced by half.
Similarly, it will be difficult for Tamils in Ampara and Muslims in Batticaloa to win. Today’s representative structure will be changed even in Trincomalee and the Vanni. Mark my words, If the election system is changed these things will happen.
The parties of the majority will never be honest. So, competing with them, buying the scattered Tamil and Muslim votes for them, and then expecting to be nominated for the list would be a foolish move.
Never before have the parties of the majority and the ruling class agreed to create separate Tamil constituencies outside the Nuwara Eliya district. Next, there is no room to create new multi-member constituencies and landless separate Tamil constituencies. This is an empty dream.
As it is today, we must jointly ask the majority parties in writing to come up with an alternative idea to ensure that the existing Tamil and Muslim representations in the provincial councils and parliament. It should also be noted that list appointments can never be taken into account.
Conversely, it would not be appropriate for us to adopt the volume system ourselves and put forward alternative ideas of 60:40 and 70:30. This is will put our Tamils and Muslim minorities in permanent danger.
If a fair system acceptable to all cannot be put forward, we must put forward the alternative idea of a ‘zonal electoral system’ that divides today’s constituencies based on population into two or three, in the same proportional system.
Already, the 14th Amendment to our Constitution has been brought in and left unimplemented. This is an issue related to our political existence. It would be extreme chauvinism if the majority government takes action unilaterally to abolish the fair representation of the Tamil and Muslim people.
We must not succumb to the reproach of the future that we have failed to fight against chauvinism and abandoned the representations of our future generations. Tamil-speaking politicians should set aside their differences and come forward to carry out national and international struggles against the abrupt change in the electoral system.”
Mano Ganesan also added, “I say this as a person who has been involved in the discussions of electoral system reform for more than the last ten years.”