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Sri Lanka: Constitutional Reform to Be Proposed

(May 13, 2010) According to Sri Lankan Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena, that country's government is preparing draft constitutional reforms. The proposal is now being considered by the Attorney General and will be presented to the Cabinet before being sent to the legislature in June 2010. (Sri Lanka Constitutional Reforms Next Month, COLOMBO PAGE, May 9, 2010, available at

Sirisena reported that the reforms will center on the country's electoral system, as well as set up a Commission to implement the 17th amendment of the Constitution of 2001 and empower the public service sector. The 17th amendment established a Constitutional Council whose responsibilities include reviewing and approving appointments. (Text of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Government of Sri Lanka official website, (last visited May 10, 2010).) Under the current electoral system, there are no by-elections and there is little contact between voters and members of the legislature. (COLOMBO PAGE, supra.)

Sri Lanka adopted a proportional representation electoral system, with 22 districts, in 1978. (The Parliament of Sri Lanka website, (last visited May 10, 2010).) Public debate over constitutional reforms focuses in part on the idea of changing this system to create a more responsive democracy. (Sumanasiri Liyanage, Five Proposals for Constitutional Reform, TRANSCURRENTS, (last visited May 10, 2010).)