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Inadequate political knowledge among youth to blame for Sri Lanka’s low development, says election monitor

ECONOMYNEXT – Inadequate political knowledge among Sri Lanka’s younger generation is the biggest reason for the country’s low level of development, a Colombo-based election violation monitoring organisation said.

“The political knowledge of the young generation is much lower than we expect,” Centre for Monitoring Election Violence National Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said.

“We all know how to vote, but that doesn’t mean we have political knowledge” he added, defining political knowledge as the ability to choose the right candidate for parliamentary representation.

Gajanayaka said it is not reasonable of a society to scold a government after sending the same people to parliament using their power to vote.

“Having failed in this regard, we shouldn’t be emotionally complaining about the state of parliament,” he said.

The younger generation is not aware of the candidates, said Gajayanake, and their poor political knowledge has hindered their ability to vote wisely.

Citing a 2015 United Nations Population Fund report, Gajayanake said 23% of Sri Lanka’s population are from the younger generation, a mere 1.3% of whom are engaged in a political party or any kind of association. He claimed only 1.7% of the country’s younger generation therefore possess adequate political knowledge.

During the presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, said Gajayanake, a law was contemplated to give 40% participation for young candidates in local government elections; however, when the law to have 25 percent participation was introduced that law was eventually forgotten.

The activist said the young generation should be encouraged to gain the political knowledge needed to reform the political and election system in the country. (Colombo/Aug05/2020)

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