Manthri.lk: holding Sri Lankan lawmakers answerable to people
ECONOMYNEXT – Manthri.lk, a Web-based platform that monitors Sri Lanka’s parliament, has helped create more awareness about how parliamentarians work and their performance, making them more answerable to the people, an official said.
“The platform offers information and insights into how parliamentarians take part in the business of parliament, whether they are constructive or not and the contribution they make,” said Nishan de Mel, Executive Director and Head of Research of Verité Research, an independent think tank, which runs Manthri.lk.
Manthri.lk, best known for ranking parliamentarians, was re-launched on July 21 with the rankings of the new parliament.
Five of just seven Members of Parliament of the left-wing Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation front) were among the top 10 ten performers in the 225-member house.
New features include comparisons of how MPs perform, rankings based on the subject and time and updates on parliamentary activity.
De Mel said the platform also provides “visibility, with information brought together in a way that makes people interact with it. I call it a platform, not just a website, that makes people understand what parliamentarians are doing.”
Manthri.lk also helps ensure answerability by raising questions of both parliament as a system and about the performance of MPs, de Mel said.
“In the previous parliament we found that 66% of all questions by MPs were asked by just five MPs,” he said.
Although this shows these five MPs were very active, it also raised questions about the parliamentary the system that allows such lopsided participation, prompting parliament to change its rules.
“Manthri.lk creates accountability for parliamentarians for the job they’ve been given to do by voters,” de Mel said. “It not only serves voters but parliamentarians too – it means parliamentarians are recognised for their hard work.”
(COLOMBO, July 23, 2016)