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Wake up with March 12 Declaration for a sound Parliament

28 June 2015 07:35 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


To get a sound Parliament in September, the March 12 Declaration can be used as a guide line for political parties as well as for the voters.

On January 8th 2015, citizens of Sri Lanka were able to change the strong political family centric network of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a person without any political family background namely Maithripala Sirisena. President Sirisena was able to get the support from many civil society organizations and in particular from two leading Buddhist monks, who led the political campaign, from Tamil and Muslim minority communities and from large numbers of Sinhalese voters at the Presidential election.
The last Presidential election set out many lessons to be learned for future elections in post-war Sri Lanka.
President Maithripala Sirisena came to power promising certain democratic reforms and particular good governance to be implemented within the 100-Day Programme. He was able to deliver some of the important issues mentioned in the 100-Day Programme mainly the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which allowed setting up Independent Commissions, stripping off certain powers vested under the executive Presidency.
But he was unable to appoint the Independent Commissions and also unable to pass the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which would have paved the way for better electoral system.

At the same time the Right to Information Act also not been tabled and passed through by Parliament. This was mainly due to non availability of two third majorities in Parliament.
Parliament was dissolved on June 26 and again Sri Lanka is looking for fresh start for the future with a new Parliament.
Under the 100-Day Programme there were considerable promises fulfilled and some were not. The new Parliament should pass the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and also the remaining work to be done under the 100-Day programme.
Those unfilled areas of the 100-Day Programme should be a matter of high priority for the new government in September.
Overall, the previous Parliament consisted of a great number of MPs, who were unsuitable to be members of Parliament.
During the last few decades MPs came to Parliament mainly because of their monetary power and thuggery and earning money through various corrupt deals.
It was visible that professionals, intellectuals, and like-minded people gradually moved away from contesting the elections.
This was mainly due to not having sufficient funds to contest elections and being unable to face with political violence and thuggery. As reported many of the MPs in the previous Parliament had not even passed GCE O/L or GCE A/L.
In the same time, women were not given sufficient nomination by the party leaders, which lead to Sri Lanka’s Parliament becoming a place of male domination rather than a place with equal gender representation.

As reported, certain members of the house were accused of killings, engaging in illegal business transactions as well as policies against the environment, culture, and respect for the basic rights of people.
Senior members of Parliament, regarded as intellectuals or veterans in certain areas, completely lost their earlier commitment to their interests, and became failed leaders overnight. They even started using filthy and abusive language, which was never heard in the history of Sri Lanka’s Parliament by persons of such calibre. If this continues certainly Sri Lanka will soon be isolated from the world with no future for coming generations.
Under these circumstances, the March 12 Declaration was initiated on March 12, 2015.
It claimed that, the March 12 Declaration was the product of island wide multi-stakeholder consultation on what can be done to transform the political culture of Sri Lanka.

This is timely and was signed by all the political party leaders including President Sirisena.
Political parties signing the March 12 Declaration and joining the March 12 Movement, urge all the political parties in Sri Lanka to adhere to following 8 basic principles when selecting and nominating their candidates for the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections;
1. Should not be a criminal;
2. Free of bribery and corruption;
3. Free of anti-social trades;
4. Environment friendly;
5. Not abusing authority;
6. Free of abusive financial contracts;
7. Close to their electors;
8. Adequate opportunities for women and youth.

The ultimate outcome of this should be clean politics. The time has come for all political parties contesting in the upcoming general elections to adhere to the March 12 Declaration. There is a need to check each candidate on the above 8 basic principles when selecting him or her for nomination for the August 17th General Elections. In the meantime, citizens of the country will be able to kick out any dirty politicians if they are nominated for the upcoming general election and future elections.

On the opening day of three day “Programme for the Formulation of Sound Policies” at the Sri Lanka Foundation on June 22, President Sirisena said that, he hope to form a new Parliament in September.
He urged the “Programme for the Formulation of Sound Policies” to discuss with political party leaders of the country and seek their support for implementation of sound policies and their consistency and transparency even the party or the minister get changed.
Then only will sound policies continue to thrive in future. To achieve objectives of sound policies Sri Lanka needs a sound Parliament.
Sri Lanka’s political parties and voters should be able to send their representatives to Parliament based on their merits.
To get a sound Parliament in September, the March 12 Declaration can be used as a guide line for political parties as well as for the voters.

  Comments - 1

  • nandanee Monday, 29 June 2015 07:11 AM

    "You must look into people as well as at them" - Chesterfield

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