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Sri Lanka PM resists last minutes moves to undermine election commission

Apr 29, 2015 08:41 AM GMT+0530 | 10 Comment(s)

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka's Prime Minister who failed to fully de-politcise the public service due to opposition filibustering, managed to save the elections commission from last ditch attempts to further undermine their independence.

A Constitutional Council which will oversee several individual commissions was to have a majority of non-political members, but the opposition managed to keep it politicized by pushing for a majority to be politicians.

Prime Minister Wickramasinghe said he gave into the demand to have a majority of politicians in the commission to save other aspects of the 19th amendment but said he would make further attempts in the future to produce an independent public service.

During the Committee stage debate, opposition parliamentarians demanded a clause to make the individual commissions coming under the Constitutional Council separately answerable to parliament.

Wickremesinghe said he had already agreed to opposition demands to put 7 politicians to the Constitutional Council and it was not correct to put them under further controls of politicians.

He almost managed to get the house to agree to allow the individual commissions to give six monthly reports, but was shot down by Wimal Weerawansa backed up by opposition members.

Weerawansa insisted that the parliament was not a politicized body under the control of one party. The Parliament however had earlier removed an entire 17th amendment in a partisan manner.

"Let the Commissions be a buffer between the politicians," Wickremesinghe pleaded, to no avail.

Though he failed to save the Police Commission, Wickremesinghe steadfastly refused to give ground in the case of the Elections Commission insisting repeatedly that it be removed from the list of being made directly answerable to parliament and be completely independent.

The Judicial Services Commission was also outside the list.

The opposition also wanted further changes on giving authority for disciplinary action on policemen to the police chief instead of the Police Commission.

Wickremesinghe said he was well aware of how the police functioned under the Rajapaksa regime and he did not need to be told. Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa said the Police Commission could delegate the power if it wanted to.

The independence of Sri Lanka's public service during the British period and until the republican constitution was ensured by the Civil Service Commission which was in charge of appointments, transfers and disciplinary action.

As a result politicians were unable to interfere in the public service especially in punishing public servants for not carrying out their instructions.


 

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10 Comments

  1. Ysantha April 30, 04:14 AM

    @Maverick. President and the people are using your vote to control the tax system and the legislature. Their past record has been that they have stolen your freedoms using that system. They are worse than feudal overlords. They primarily stole your freedoms by stealing the freedom of the state machinery - the public sector to treat your equally and fairly. If liberal rulers are elected - i.e like the president who want to give up power and enhance your freedom - it is ok. Otherwise you will be less than a feudal without even the right to a fair trial, as happened in this country after 1948 or mostly after 1972 when they destroyed the public sector.

  2. Naman April 29, 09:19 AM

    Next is to have the 20th Amendment prior to the Elections. We need to protect the minorities in a truly democratic country.

  3. Voter April 29, 06:30 AM

    All those responsible for obstructing the bill should be voted out of office at the next election.

  4. surasena April 29, 04:33 AM

    Considered the educational qualifications of politicians such as WW, only they can dream of sitting in such committee in a politicized environment. Let get rid of these types in the next election such that the elected members can work for the public with no obstacles.

  5. naren April 29, 04:53 AM

    The people are well aware how these clowns acted in impeaching the former CJ Mrs.Shirani Bandaranayake.

  6. Maverick April 29, 04:29 AM

    President and MPs are elected through people's power (votes). Hence, it's nothing but right to have people's representatives at the constitutional council more representation than those so-called, un-elected, non-political members, who may or may not have clandestine/hidden agendas.

  7. korale April 29, 12:54 PM

    Undemocratic people like Wimal should be held responsible for their actions in the future.

  8. Rajiv de Silva April 29, 11:35 AM

    Public must ensure that all these anti-public MPs who opposed giving more liberties to the people are voted out and put into the dustbins of history.

  9. kawdaboy April 29, 10:36 AM

    A small step, but has the potential to become a giant stride for Sri Lanka. Go PM!!!

  10. Bad record April 29, 09:27 AM

    So far the elected members have a very bad record. All the destruction of the public service has been done by elected members. If there is a majority of good elected members then that is fine. They are a shameless lot, and to put your faith in them over other members of the public is plain nuts considering that a non elected body such as civil service commission, judicial services commission has a better record.

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