Sri Lanka civil society activists calls for proper criteria for national list candidates

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Aug 27, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s civil society activists including the election watchdog PAFFREL have called for proper criteria when naming national list candidates.

Political parties in Sri Lanka have already used the 29 seats often referred to as the national list to accommodate people who have been rejected by the people at the last election.

The UPFA has named seven defeated candidates at the recently held election while the JVP has named one defeated candidate for the two national list parliamentary seats they secured through the election.

The UNP national list also included a defeated candidate and the ITAK has also named two candidates who had contested at the election and got defeated.

“Criteria should be formulated through the Parliament itself in a manner that the main purpose of appointing national list parliamentarians was fulfilled,” Executive Director of PAFFEREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said.

“The decisions taken by the people at the election should not be overlooked and selecting individuals for political objectives is inappropriate.” Hettiarachchi stressed.

Conversely certain political analysts and civil society organizations are expressing contradictory views on the same subject.

Section 99A of the Sri Lankan constitution has provisions for appointing candidates whose names contained in the district nomination papers which also include defeated candidates.

Section 99A of the Sri Lankan constitution quote…

[Being persons whose names are included in the list submitted to the Commissioner of Elections under this Article or in any nomination paper submitted in respect of any electoral district by such party or group at that election shall declare elected as Members of Parliament.]

Sri Lanka’s present constitution does not require a specific quality assurance when fielding individuals for the national list.

The absence of a proper constitutional criterion for national list appointments has opened the doors for political parties to gain mere political mileage.

1946 Soulbury constitution had a provision for few persons who have rendered distinguished public service to be appointed as representatives of the house.

Persons of eminence in professional, commercial, industrial, or agricultural life were also considered important areas in the Soulbury constitution to select representatives.