20 October, 2017

A Free And Fair Election – The Commissioner’s Role

By Elmore Perera

Elmore Perera

Elmore Perera

We, the people have a sovereign right to exercise our franchise at free and fair elections. The very last time we could do so was in 1977. Disgusted with the governance prevailing at that time, we gave J.R. Jayewardene, who claimed to be the long awaited saviour of the Sri Lankan nation, a 5/6th majority.

Election malpractices thereafter escalated exponentially. In an attempt to arrest and reverse this dangerous trend Independent Commissions including an Elections Commission with extensive powers, were provided for by the 17th amendment, a civil society initiative, spearheaded by the Organisation of Professional Associations. Sadlythe Elections Commission was never established, but those extensive powers were vested in the incumbent Commissioner of elections pending the appointment of the Elections Commission. However the Commissioner was too timid to exercise them proactively to ensure free and fair elections. His timidity was fully exploited by scheming politicians.

In the early afternoon of 26th January 2010, whilst the 2010 presidential election was in progress, a pronouncement was made by Mr.Wimal Weerawansa that Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s name was not included in the Electoral list and therefore voting for him would be futile as he could not lawfully function as President, even if elected. This was aired on several TV channels. The gullible public was naturally confused by this confident assertion which was supported by a display of the relevant Electoral List.

Mahinda Rajapaksa Nomination 2014 Pic President's mediaIn a rare exercise of his authority, the Commissioner issued a statement, under his signature, that this was not a barrier to Gen. Fonseka’s eligibility to function as president, if elected. This was displayed on several TV channels, but it was too late to reverse the damage already done.

The Commissioner was seen on TV, leaving the Secretariat in the company of M/s. Weerawansa and Basil Rajapaksa at about 4.30 pm .The pressure exerted on the said Commissioner, sometime thereafter, was clearly reflected in his spontaneous address to the nation on 27th January 2010 prior to announcing the result of what has been aptly described as Sri Lanka’s most controversial and ugliest election, ever. His speech was loaded with meaning and obvious abhorrence of what he described as the worst election ever conducted by him.

Patent malpractice, in relation to the Presidential Election to be held on 8th January 2015, has soared to unimaginable heights. Clearly illegal actions have been authoritatively declared as legal. Armed only with the powers which the Commissioner had prior to the 17th Amendment, the present Commissioner confidently claims that he will ensure that this election will indeed be free and fair. The future of this nation depends on the success of his endeavours.

Acting in terms of article 31(3A) (a) (i), the President, by proclamation, “declared his intention of appealing to the people for a mandate to hold office by election for a further term”.

By Article 31(3A) (a) (ii) the Commissioner of Elections was required to take a poll for the election of the President, and he has, accordingly fixed 8th January 2015 for the said poll.

Article 31 (3A)(d)(ii) unequivocally provides that if the person declared elected as President at an election held under Article 31(3A) is not the President in office, such person shall hold office for a term of 6 years commencing on the date on which the result of such election is declared.

It is therefore crystal clear that if any candidate other than the incumbent President is declared elected on 9th January 2015, such person shall hold office for a term of six years commencing on 9th January 2015, and the incumbent President ipso facto ceases to hold office when the result is declared.

It is common knowledge that certain lawyers recently appointed as President’s Counsel, have initiated a campaign to state that even if the incumbent President is not elected , he could continue as President until 19th November 2016.

Since then, this claim has also been made by a venerable thera.

It is therefore necessary that the Commissioner of Elections should, at the earliest, as done by his predecessor on 26th January 2010, set the record straight, before any further confusion is created in the minds of the public.

*Elmore Perera, Attorney at Law – Founder CIMOGG, Past President OPA  

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Don’t expect it impartiality from him. How do you think this chap got to become the EC? He was appointed by MR, was n’t he?

    • 2
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      Elmore Perera –

      RE: A Free And Fair Election – The Commissioner’s Role

      Yes, Yes, Yes.

      It is A Free Election for Medamulana MaRa. all paid for by the state, i.e. people.

      And Fair Election , it is Fair for Medamulana MaRa… Forget the others

      The Commissioner’s Role is to Assist the Medamulana to get a Free and Fair Election… forget the others.. Read..

      Mahinda creates world record using state resources for his campaign

      The way state power is utilized, deploying of state resources and employees for the presidential election campaign would create a world record says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva.

  • 2
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    My pet theory is to agitate against the ECs self-proclaimed rule that the Declaration of Assets Form will be his secret, as they are sealed for this reason and be made available after the elections.

    What prohibits the 18 other candidates VOLUNTARILY publishing theirs immediately, allowing the incumbent to release his – which the Voters can decide on as a true and correct Declaration. Did H,E declare it in the 1st & 2nd Terms – what are they? Will the 18 co-operate, in the interest of good governance to publishing theirs? This simple and elementary tactic should be worth the while,is what I plead.

    It is rumoured that a Belliatta Amaradasa, hailing from Hambantota, has
    been elevated as Deputy EC , and that too very recently despite there
    is a Deputy EC?? Will this arrangement be the 1st step in placing the
    EC on compulsory Sick Leave from 8-1-15??

    • 1
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      punchinilame,
      You are entirely correct.
      Let Maithripala Sirisena release his assets publicly, immediately.
      If MR dares to do so, well and good. If he does not, this will go against him. Others are of no importance.

      Regarding the new Deputy EC, if this is true, there is dirty work being planned ahead.

  • 0
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    Looking at him, I don’t think the Election Commissioner even knows how to access CT using a proxy … so this article is “preaching to the choir” once again – making CT one of the most incestuous news websites of Sri Lanka (tip: with Google Translate, one could easily transfer this website into a Singalese one. tip 2: posting news on Facebook can’t be blocked – so far)

  • 0
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    Anyone appointed by the current President cannot be considered neutral, credible, or able to be independent of Rajapaksa influence. He will be unable to freely make decisions, and any decision will be second guessed by the people in this country. Are we fools to think that a Rajapaksa influenced Supreme Court or any other entity that is supposed to be neutral, will make decisions not favoring the scoundrels who appointed them?
    This is such a joke. Gone are the days when one could have confidence that the election would be won fair and square. Gone are the days when we could be sure the opposition will not be intimidated or marginalized by the Brothers Grim. Gone are the days when any opposition candidate would not have been thrown in jail for running against the evil regime.

  • 0
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    These days you cannot expect the ideal. Unforunately Might is Right! You will find all sorts of skeletons every where.

    Take the case of Singapore. Francis Seow was known to be an upright independent official, who was the Solicitor General. The decision he took in one case made him to leave the public service. Was it good? Was Francis Seow right and there was political interference? or was his decision stupid and insane waranting his departure? Any one can argue either way.

    All these people who crave for power are in the same boat.

  • 0
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    The present commissioner of election Deshapriya is a true COMMISSION-ER OF Rajapakse. Disgraceful for an election commissioner to act like this. History will write that Deshapriya was the most ineffective and bribed back bone less commissioner of Sri Lanka. A Grinning Ass!

  • 0
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    Election process in any democracy is to enable voters to make a free choice without any manipulation whatsoever by polticians, the servants of the people.

    The Election Commissioner(EC) has a code of conduct for political parties to ensure;

    a) Peaceful environment during elections
    b) To guarantee no intimidation of voters and Public Servants in any form.

    The recent disturbing statements by the EC suggests that in SL, we the people, are losing democracy to ruthless and unsruplous politicians.

    It appears that the EC is losing control and urgently needs help from us the people who constitute our democracy.

    Burning down of political platform of opponents, intimidating public servants and other possible threats to the EC have made him to say that he and his staff may resign their positions.

    Can we the people, the owners of our democracy, ask the politicos and their supporters to strictly adhere to the election code of conduct and preserve our democracy.

  • 0
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    Numbers to play with upto 8-1-15:- Registered Voters for 2013 = 14,762,168, broken up into 22 Districts as detailed below:-
    (Source: slelection.gov.lk)
    Colombo 1,552,734
    Gampaha 1,590,076
    Kalutara 881,814
    Kandy 1,031,980
    Matale 373,315
    N.Eliya 520,767
    Galle 809,882
    Matara 608,524
    H`tota 455,398
    Jaffna 516,989
    Vanni 241,935
    Batticola 358,205
    Amparai 456,942
    Trinco 251,690
    Kurunega 1,248,987
    Puttalam 540,706
    A`pura 625,740
    Polonaru. 303,192
    Badulla 609,965
    Moneraga. 332,764
    R`pura 795,759
    Kegalle 644,803

    Total: 14,762,168

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