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Criteria for nominations at next election - EDITORIAL

24 February 2015 04:41 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Amid heated debates and criticism of what is widely perceived as a delay in probing allegations of corruption in mega deals and abuse of power by the Rajapaksa regime, the main opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party took some vital decisions over the weekend.

The SLFP at a special workshop presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also now leader of the party, decided to form a national government to achieve the main objectives of the 100-Day programme of the administration led by the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Major constitutional changes to devolve powers of the executive presidency to the prime minister, parliament and independent commissions, changes in the electoral system,   the Right to Information Bill and the bill to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy are among the top priorities of the 100-day programme. The SLFP recommended that implementing these and other programmes was more important than holding parliamentary elections after April 23 and the present government could go on till even the end of the current parliament’s term in April next year to effectively implement the major reforms for good governance. This view is also shared by the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayaka Thera, Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice and spiritual guru of the National Unity Government. The Jathika Hela Urumaya and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna are also of the view that implementing the major reforms to change the political culture of Sri Lanka is more important than holding early parliamentary elections, though the ruling United National Party is keen on early elections to consolidate its position because it now has less than 50 seats in the 225-member Parliament. The JVP has pointed out that many of the MPs in the government and the opposition want to go on till April 23 this year because only then will they be eligible for a pension which is given to MPs who complete a five-year term.

During the past few decades, party politics in Sri Lanka had degenerated into a business instead of public service with most politicians coming forward to grab something from the country rather than to give. President Sirisena has vowed that his primary aim is to change this political culture by bringing about servant leadership and a simple and humble lifestyle for politicians. In this context the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) has put forward a draft policy laying down criteria for those who seek nominations for parliamentary or other elections. Stressing the need for a new political culture of sincere service by politicians to the people instead of being lords, masters or plunderers, PAFFREL says the new culture cannot be worked out by one party but through a consensus among all parties and civic action movements.

For Parliamentary elections, PAFFREL has proposed that those seeking nominations should have at least GCE Advanced Level qualifications or equivalent professional qualifications and a good awareness and education in current affairs at a national, provincial, district and electoral level. They should have a full and balance awareness of the needs of the people of their areas, the human and natural resources available and how they could be fully tapped for the common good of all.  The candidate should respect the equal rights of all ethnic and religious groups. No one who has been convicted by a court of law in a criminal case would be eligible for nomination. Those convicted for bribery or corruption or of involvement in heroin, illicit liquor, casino, prostitution or related crimes will also not be eligible to seek nominations. Significantly those involved in causing harm to the eco-system will also not be eligible.

We urge the government and all parties to work out and adopt the criteria for nomination before parliament is dissolved so that at the next General Elections the elections commissioner could investigation and disqualify any candidate who is guilty of such crimes.
  
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  Comments - 3

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  • David Perera Tuesday, 24 February 2015 05:53 PM

    Goo if it happens. When you look at the magnitude of corruption, the sitting politicians are involved in according to reports appearing daily, and at the rate things that are taking place currently, will that be an achievable target is the million dollar question need to be answered.More than the politicians public officials at highest levels are responsible for such a situation who allowed politicians to commit such actions.The main thing needed is to rehabilitate the officials at the highest levels who lead the way through along with their subordinates including Secretaries to Ministry and Heads of Department without which country will have no progress.

    Dr M.L.Najimudeen Tuesday, 24 February 2015 06:01 PM

    100 days are not enough to make major changes. The present government can continue for another one year to settle all the problems. sudden and hurried decisions are not good in a long run.No one wants an immediate election. The people want solutions to the burning problems.

    Mason Tuesday, 24 February 2015 12:04 PM

    Not only criminals and those with criminal taint, but those who like servile attitudes - getting others to kneel to them, having persons tied to trees etc ete, should not be given nomination.


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