The leading elections monitoring NGO, the People’s Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), yesterday made an appeal to all political party leaders to refrain from criticising the Constitutional Council (CC).
In an open letter, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told party leaders that any criticism to the CC was as good as criticising all commissions appointed by it and challenging its integrity and independence.
“Such criticisms may invariably erode the faith of the people in these independent institutions which is a serious threat to the well-being of the country in the long-run,” he said.
"In the recent past, some senior politicians strongly criticised the manner in which the Constitutional Council functioned. The CC is the central agency of independent commissions and the premier institutional body established under the 19th Amendment. Accordingly, major appointments to the posts of Honorable Chief Justice, the Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as well as the members of independent commissions are made by the Constitutional Council. The CC is a ten-member authority consisting of three representatives of the United National Party (UNP), three members of the leading group of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and one member of the JVP and three non-political representatives. Presently, a vacancy was created following the resignation of the representative of the opposition leader. It is evident that the Constitutional Council consists of representatives of a number of political parties and therefore all of them are collectively responsible and accountable for the problems of the council, if there were any. We therefore urge all political parties to abstain from criticising the Constitutional Council and if there were any problem, it is better to resolve them internally without resorting to undermine these independent institutions for narrow political gains,” he said. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)