General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance and Minister Susil Premajayantha has said that the decision to reduce the number of Parliamentary seats in the Jaffna District is not the conclusion of the Freedom Alliance Government.The Elections Department decides on the number of seats that are being distributed among each District based on a Census conducted every year. The Department takes a decision according to legal provisions of the Constitution in this respect by the 30th of June every year based on the population of each District.
The Minister has clarified that this is not a new situation. The 21 seats allocated to Colombo were reduced to 19 at the last General Election. The two seats were distributed among the Gampaha and Puttalam Districts. 196 members to Parliament are elected according to the proportional representation system while the balance seats are distributed among the political parties based on the number of votes they have polled. As such, the Freedom Alliance General Secretary said that statements should be issued in this respect as having a clear awareness of the situation.
Meanwhile, PAFFREL – the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections has made an analysis on the reduction of these Parliamentary seats. It has analyzed the seats that had been distributed among the Districts within the last 30 years and the changes that had been effect to the number of seats. Accordingly it pointed out that there is only a handful of districts which had not witnessed changes to the number of Parliamentary seats in the last 30 years.
Also in analyzing the Jaffna District which is under discussion, PAFFREL said the District had 11 seats in 1981. It was reduced to 10 from 1989 to 1994 and from 1995 to 1997 the number declined to nine. Accordingly, it clarifies that changes do take place with regard to the number of seats annually due to changes population wise. Colombo District had 21 seats in 1981 and it was reduced to 19 in 2010. As such PAFFREL said the District lost two Parliamentary seats.