COLOMBO, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's new electoral reforms should make space for more women representation in parliament, Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera told reporters on Monday.
Following the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, the government has pledged to implement elections reforms with a new amendment to the constitution.
The composition of the new parliament and how it should be elected is a hot topic of debate in political circles.
Current plans include increasing Sri Lanka's 225 member cabinet to 255 and adopting a proportional representation system. These measures will be discussed at several meetings with President Sirisena this week, according to local media reports.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera believes all major political parties have to commit that 50 percent of parliamentarians selected under the National List be women.
"Sri Lanka has many competent, qualified and intelligent women. But even though 52 percent of the population is women, we have a tiny amount of them in parliament. These reforms are the ideal chance to change that," he said.
Perera argued it would be impossible to promote equitable legislation unless more women enter parliament.
He pledged to submit the new proposals to the party leaders meeting and he has been trying to drum up public support for the reforms.
Sirisena has already insisted parliament will be dissolved once electoral changes are passed into the constitution setting the stage for a fresh election.
Currently female representation in Sri Lanka's parliament is about 4.8 percent with just 13 female members out of 225 members of the parliament.
Since the State Council in 1931 post universal franchise up to now, Sri Lanka has never had more than 6 percent representation of women in parliament. However, Sri Lanka elected the world's first female prime minister in 1960 but has failed to consistently increase parliamentary representation over the past few decades, falling behind most other countries.