25 May, 2022


All Presidential Candidates Must Be Transparent & Must Enter Into A Social Contract

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

All Presidential Candidates, before seeking nominations, must transparently declare publicly, all relevant personal details, including the following;

· Date of Birth and National Identity Card number
· Highest educational attainment
· Citizenship
· A core capability statement, setting out descriptively their knowledge, skills, attitudes and values
· Core Personal Characteristics, setting out in addition, their Strengths and Weaknesses ( the ones the candidate can observe and have experienced; but not transparent to outsiders)
· Significant personal achievements to date
· Significant leadership achievements to date
· A brief record of significant Public Services to Society at large
· Political Track Record
· Top ten Socio Economic reforms/commitments, if elected (not mere motherhood statements)
· Top ten Change Management Commitments to advance the interests of the Nation and its People towards sustainable growth and prosperity
· Top five action commitments to avoid in public life, in order to refrain from engaging in socially unacceptable behaviours

and these candidates must further affirm and declare :

· That he/she is a “Fit and Proper” Person to hold office and have no criminal records, nor subject to even any allegations pending before court or under investigation, where if convicted the penal sanctions will be in excess of 2 years imprisonment
· The latest available Assets and Liabilities, Interests and Related Party disclosures of the candidate and family
· Key Sources of Political and Election Funding
· Ethical Public life leadership Commitments whilst holding Office, covering:

Selflessness: to act always entirely in the public interest.

Integrity: not to accept any financial obligations or engage in any financial transactions or have at any time any conflicting interests (both in business and at a personal /family level) which could undermine the position.

Objectivity: when making national resource allocations, approving national interest policies and practices and in making appointments, all decisions should always be based on merit and always in the sustainable national interest

Accountability: as a holder of public office be accountable, and should co-operate with all scrutiny procedures.

Openness: all decisions should be justified, and information should be restricted only when necessary for the public interest.

Honesty: as a public office-holder be duty bound, to be honest in all dealings in governance.

Leadership: the principles should be supported and upheld as a Role Model in Society

and further declare in a personal commitments led manifesto, the following Leadership Commitments, if elected to the Office of President:

· Executive Presidential Systems be abolished within 18 months by a Constitutional Amendment and replaced by a Westminster Model Based Parliamentary Governance system; along with

the vesting of the Constitutional Council majority in favour of Civil Society nominees;

Parliamentary /Provincial Council Voting systems be a mixed proportionate and first past the post combination;

with a Second Chamber for review of legislation, comprising of Provincial Chief Ministers and Professionals / Civil Society Leaders with acceptable core commitments, capability, Independence and Integrity;

full devolution in line with 13th Amendment plus, whilst protecting national security and sovereignty:

amendment to Section 52, whereby Minsters will not retain power of direction and control over affairs of the Ministries and

introducing a restricted three term limit or 65 years whichever is earlier being imposed on elected representatives in Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government

Strengthening further the powers and independence of the Independent Public Institutions, the Central Bank, and Regulatory bodies and the office of the Attorney General alongside a separate independent Public Prosecutor

Making all entities ( including entities formed under the Companies Act) with majority state control (by way of ownership and / or director appointments) to come under the review of the Auditor General and Parliamentary Oversight Committees

· Promote and maintain without any diminution the Present Empowerments and Effectiveness and Value to Society of Parliamentary Oversight Committees, COPE and PAC and the newly established Parliamentary Budget Office (introducing Post Audit Reviews of fund allocations for any project ( capital and revenue) exceeding Rupees One Billion)and make access open to Public Representations Committee system without the need for a parliamentary member endorsement

· Right to Information legislative framework and effective response mechanisms with due accountability, to be further promoted and strengthened and maintained without any diminution of its present effectiveness and value to society

· Create the undernoted new Independent Commissions

a New Land Alienation, Development, Usage and Urban Planning Independent Commission, to ensure effective, productive, equitable, sustainable and growth and prosperity assuring land use and engage in oversight enforcement of all associated legislative enactments and regulations,

create new Independent Commission to optimize, co-ordinate and control State Revenue Collections and ensure transparent State Revenue Collection processes and systems are in place

create a new Independent Public Commission to co-ordinate and maintain, a data base of intelligence for follow up, state asset recovery, stolen asset recovery and recovery actions by related law enforcement agencies, where joint and collective professional investigative initiatives amongst the enforcement authorities are required and to advise on state reforms essential to minimize money laundering and illegal transfer of state assets and national resources/assets

· Strengthen the processes and effective Independent functioning of the Central Bank, Audit Commission ( including effective enforcement of the Audit Act), Public Services, Police Commission and Bribery and Corruption Commissions and

· Ensure appointments of officials to all High Posts, Independent Commissions and Regulatory Bodies are filled by persons with integrity, independence and capability track records and be processed via the Constitutional Council

· Commitment to a Non Aligned Foreign Policy effectively adopting best practices of Diplomacy with at least 75% of positions filled by career diplomats and balance by capable professionals

· Commitment to promote ethno religious harmony and ensure Peace and Security and ensure Democratic and Human Rights and Freedoms and Rule of Law being fffectively upheld at all times

· Commitment to take affirmative action

to eradicate Poverty and

to empower all marginalized, disadvantaged and conflict affected families, enabling them to engage in value adding lives and livelihoods and ,

to Preserve the Environment and

Promote gender equality and empowerment of women and youth in society
to provide shelter for homeless and water, sanitation, health and educational and skills development services to all citizens

· To adopt the principles of good governance and

ensure Equity and Equality and Transparent Accountability in the use of national resources

Exercise care and due diligence in the management of the fiscal spends and minimize fiscal deficits and adhere to all principles committed to under the Fiscal Responsibilities Act

Ensure effective external and internal debt management and observe all commitments under the Active Liability Management Law and Monetary Law Act, assuring low inflation and sufficient external reserves with acceptable Sovereign Ratings and Financial Action Task Force ratings

With all of above commitments being a due accountability of the holder of office, once elected as the President, created by way of a binding Social Contract with voters and all citizens.

It is the fervent hope that all political parties and presidential candidates will accept the above structure of transparent disclosure and binding commitments and also all civil society lead organization, both in the cities as well as at village level, will advocate for same and promote its adoption by all candidates.

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Latest comments

  • 6

    Chandra Jayaratne,
    Looks smart but never going to happen.

    • 3

      It can only happen if Nagananda is elected, but will commence from next election.

    • 3

      Mr. Jayaratne
      Are you in the real world?
      Your proposals are good in theory but not in practice.

      A well known Buddhist monk in Thailand has once said “If you want to find a perfect monastery please do not come here”

      If so, what do we expect from our politicians who operate on the basis
      of full of Ego, Greed, Hatred, and Delusion?

    • 0

      How can they be Transparent when they have so many ‘skeletons in their underwear’.

  • 6

    Pakisthan also has an election commission and recently Pakisthani EC eliminated some Politicians because they failed to declare their assets. Sri lanka is not like that. Even the politicians who were in the jail are talking about coming back.
    Besides, over the time, because of western influence, Srilankan politicians and now the bureaucracy are very corrupt. Every where in the world, where there is international or foreign influence the system is like this.
    IT is completely corrupt that is what we should eliminate
    The most important point, Sri lankan can not be converted to a fair system. then the foreign influence, – UN agencies and not the UN, foreign embassies and organizations such as NGO and MCC will increase. they need corrupt politicians in order to continue their system..
    International community work for both sides while strengthening their corrupt ways.

  • 3

    The world over, all aspirants to high leadership positions promise transparency and a ‘binding’ social contract but very often become opaque as a black-hole and renege on the contract. An infamous example is the former Australia TU Boss, Bob Hawke campaigned on anti-nuclear issues. Following a decisive win, was PM but reneged on the ‘neither confirm nor deny’ in a matter of days.
    Chandra Jayaratne knows our leaders promise heaven and earth but after elections keep the heaven to themselves.

  • 4

    “All Presidential Candidates Must Be Transparent & Must Enter Into A Social Contract”

    This is the Ideal of a Democracy!
    But Who is going to Ensure that it Happens, When Elected Candidates become All-Powerful?

  • 1

    IF chandra Jayarathne remembers even Ranil just after the election told he knew the method which was practised in the Latin america and that was, Latin american govts had heavy taxes for very rich individuals or companies. But, that did not happen. Instead, Arjuna Mahendran, Harvard Team of Economists, George Zorros inviting Ranil to Indonesian and Western European international Economic conferences, Ranil meeting Zorros in Belgium etc, happened. the result was, the bond scam, elimination of the tax for very rich people and scams inside finance ministry, state banks and other pension funds. Now, Ranil is a highly damaged goods as he did not and could not show his Leadership and instead became a member and a instigator of every financial, Bank and monetary scam groups.

  • 6

    Chandra Jayaratne knows very well that all this is pie in the sky in sunny Sri Lanka. Finding someone who will meet all the requirements of this wish list is as tough as finding a virgin in Bambalapitiya for the annual nativity play. Impossible!

  • 5

    Mr Jayaratne

    I agree that all those seeking political office, particularly, presidential candidates, should disclose their (& their family) wealth, as well as, their tax returns in the preceding 5 years. Just as a CV is required when seeking employment, disclosure of educational qualifications & track record, particularly, in public services, & most importantly, whether or not, has a criminal record or if any legal cases are pending, should be mandatory & available in the public domain. Of course, a criminal record should not be held against a reformed person who now wants to pay his (or her) debt to society in the form of public service but any person who has a court case(s) pending, whether civil or criminal, should first of all, clear all such legal proceedings before coming forward. Also, a clear personal statement, spelling out reforms that are necessary, objectives & the strategy for achievement of objectives should be in the form of an action plan which should be changeable by the citizens & impeached in the event of all becoming just hype. Candidates should be held accountable, the proverbial buck stopping with him/her. Passing the buck, ‘I was not informed, it was others,’ etc etc. simply will not do. The political parties have the responsibility of nominating suitable candidates, not yobs & village thugs who can intimidate or coerce voters. As in UK, there should be a cap on election spending & all election expenses should be submitted to the election commissioner & investigated.

    As for the rest, the reforms you expect, will follow if we have a cultured, educated leader with integrity: The billion dollar question is if there is such person with an unblemished character but then again, will the average voter give a monkey’s?

  • 3

    Mr Nagananda Kodituwakku is the only presidential candidate who has a team of 24 eminent, patriotic and fearless professionals with very high integrity and a fitting plan to salvage this country out of this mess.
    One strong suggestion to protect the rule of law is to appoint all the 10 members of the Constitutional council from eminent, impartial and fearless Professional s only from the civil society and No politicians at all ! ! !

    • 1

      Yes, Naganada has been very open, and he has provided full and frank responses to all queries.
      However, what we need is a website which operates in all three languages. Particularly in Tamil, but in this day and age, in English as well. There was such a website some months ago, and I even sent a message through it. As it is, there is his Facebook page, and numerous Youtube videos, but almost all of it in Sinhala (which I can and do follow – but it takes hours).
      It should be obvious that he cannot provide us with his personal e-mail address and mobile phone number. They’ll all be jammed with spam; we don’t need personal contact with a candidate, but all citizens must have objective facts which we can access by devoting an hour to educating themselves, and on the process of Preferential Voting which will stand him in good stead because it will re-assure voters that they will not be “wasting a vote” on a person who they feel doesn’t stand a chance of winning.
      To be fair, he has asked the country to be patient until the end of August. Of the team of 24 professionals whom you have referred to he has specifically named two:
      Dr Ranil Senanayake, who has written much on Colombo Telegraph and so is “known” to us, and the relatively young Dr Chandima Gomes for whom there is a Wikipedia entry. He has recently been accompanied by Mr Gamini Wijesinghe, the recently retired Auditor-General, for whom also we have a Wikipedia entry. So, that is a powerful team.
      Naganada’s many “adventures” have received wide coverage by CT in the past, but people who depend on mainstream media have not yet been told enough.
      Thank you Mr Chandra Jayaratne for the article which outlines excellent principles. Perhaps, we should be just a little patient for all this to take effect.

      • 0

        Sinhala Man, he may be open and has no skeletons in his cupboard, but as far as Tamils are concerned he is yet another Sinhala Chauvinist. He is not only silent about solving the Tamil demand for justice, he wants to abolish the minimal autonomy granted in the 13th amendment. So he becomes a non-starter in the minds of Tamils.

  • 1

    [All Presidential Candidates, before seeking nominations, must transparently declare publicly, all relevant personal details, including the following;]

    Well said. They have to even remove their amudey and stand naked in front of the public. That is the only way the buggers can be transparent. Even internal examinations (stomach, rectum, vagina, etc) have to be carried out before declaring they are naked. But I can promise you that no one will pass this test.

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