Elections to the First Parliament

Note to Cabinet Secretary for circulation amongst Members of the Cabinet, 25 June 1949. Source: SWJN, S2, V12, p. 152

Elections under the new Constitution cannot possibly take place before the end of 1950. Probably the new Constitution will come into effect, apart from the elections, on the 26th January 1950.

The present Constituent Assembly has been functioning also as Parliament. This was not at first intended but the situation compelled us to adopt this course. The Constitution-making body will complete its task probably by October next. After that only the Parliament will remain.

It is desirable that this Parliament should, as far as possible, renew itself and its mandate as early as possible. It should be remembered that it was elected for a completely different purpose and many members of the provincial assemblies are also its members. This anomaly should be avoided.

It is proposed therefore that as soon as the Constitution has been finalized, fresh elections for the Central Parliament should take place. These elections can only be held on the old basis and by the existing provincial assemblies and State assemblies. This new Parliament will only function for the period of transition between the proclamation of the Republic and the election of the new Legislature.

This matter is for the Constituent Assembly itself to determine, but it is desirable for the Cabinet to send its own recommendation to this effect. If this is agreed to, the election by the provincial assemblies would take place sometime in December or early in January, so that the new Legislature could meet after the 26th January 1950.

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