almost 10 years ago by - Research Team under in Analysis

The fact that the intentions of voters can be thwarted by members of parliament crossing over to another party, is a serious issue in Sri Lanka. What is the extent of this problem, and does crossing over allow MPs to improve their contribution in parliament?, a pioneering online platform that monitors and ranks all the proceedings and actors in parliament enables these questions to be answered.  

Quantifying Cross-overs:
In the current parliament, cross-overs have enabled the government to grow from 64% (144 seats) at the 2010 general election to 72.4% (163 seats) at present (Exhibit 1). This is because 23% of opposition MPs crossed over to the government after the election.  

That is, 20 MPs in total have crossed over. Of that, almost half have been from the SLMC (8 MPs) – a UNF coalition partner with the UNP; and just over half has been from the UNP (11 MPs). One of them, Noordeen Massor from the SLMC, has since passed away. 

Cross-overs’ productivity below average: Although 8.4% of the current MPs are cross-overs, these MPs account for only 2.7% of parliament’s productive activity.’s data of 23 months (May 2012 – March 2014) reveals that, leaving out Noordeen Massor (deceased), the average productive contribution of cross-over MPs in parliament is only one-third of the average productive contribution of the non-crossovers (Exhibit 2).

Only two of the cross-overs have done better than average non-crossovers. They are Rauff Hakeem who is the Minister of Justice and Sri Ranga Jeyarathnam. The latter crossed over to the government after elections but has since crossed-out to now sit as an independent MP (Exhibit 3).

MPs who cross-over often claim that they do so in order to make a better contribution. But as far as parliamentary contribution is concerned the reverse is true. Are cross-overs abusing the trust placed in them by voters? Or is there a good reason to allow cross-overs? Please share your thoughts with at; or through texting the hotline 071 4639882.