The founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, Milinda Moragoda proposed that the government should hold a non-binding referendum together with the general election.
In a statement, he said the provision for such a move was available under Article 86 of the Constitution and proposed four issues to be taken up as questions for the referendum.
The questions are: “Prefer a full-fledged presidential system or a Westminster-style parliamentary system” as the first question and the second as “Wish to repeal the provincial council system and replace it with empowered local councils”.
The third question to be asked for the referendum is, ”Should the present proportional representation system for parliamentary elections be replaced with a first-past-the-post system? and the fourth question is, ‘Support the establishment of a Senate as part of a bicameral system in order to address national issues related to religious, ethnic and regional diversity?.
Mr. Moragoda said though it could make the voting process more cumbersome, holding a referendum on one or more of these above-mentioned issues together with the election, would be more economical and efficient than holding it separately.
“At a global level in many countries, referendums on both national and local issues are conducted as a matter of course in conjunction with elections. Importantly, such a referendum would give the citizens of Sri Lanka an opportunity to participate in the policy-making process and would make apparent the will of the people.
Furthermore, the referendum would create a moral impetus on the new parliament and the President to take the views of the electorate into account in the context of the constitutional reform process,” the statement said.