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‘Independent commission’ doesn’t mean independence of individual members: Sagara

SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan people lost their confidence in the independent commissions due to “some” election commission member’s acting independently of the commission, a government MP said.

“It’s the independence of the commission as a whole that is meant by the term ‘independent commission’; not the independence of individual members,” parliamentarian and General Secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Sagara Kariyawasam said.

Speaking in parliament today, Kariyawasam said that under the 19th amendment to the constitution introduced by the previous government, a single member of the election commission could cripple the electoral process of the country.

“We saw how the commission postponed allocating preferential numbers to candidates at the last general election, even though those candidates had rights as per the constitution to obtain their preferential numbers,” Kariyawasam said.

Since there is a large number of political parties in Sri Lanka, he said, the time has come to make due amendments to the laws and work out a better method to register and categorise political parties.

Kariyawasa added, however, that the entire election commission should not take the blame for the conduct of one member.

Spokespersons for the SLPP has at various points criticised the actions and pronouncements of Election Commission Member Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole in the run-up to both the parliamentary and presidential elections that the party won resoundingly.

Kariyawasam commended the “bravery” of the commission in conducting local government elections despite alleged attempts by the previous government to have them postponed. The MP also praised the commission for ensuring that no voter contracted COVID-19 at parliamentary polls in August. (Colombo/Sep23/2020)

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