2 March, 2024

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An Open Letter To The President & The Judiciary

By Chula Goonasekera, Bernard Fernando and Janaka Ranasinghe Sagara –

Sri Lanka’s current election system has installed a Parliament that has only brought misery to its people. Some MPs have no people’s mandate. The country is bankrupt, and no resolution is in sight. There is a need to have a people’s Parliament to resolve people’s problems. Installing a Proportional Representation and electoral district-wise meritocratic (PR-DM) election system via a referendum will ensure electoral district representation in Parliament for a brighter future. The candidate numbers elected will determine the winning party.

The current party-based election system is based on party leader nominations with inflator bonus seats for the winners and national seats for ‘backdoor’ entrance. The 2/3rd in the Parliament is a mockery as MPs switch sides for covert self-profitable reasons. They do not represent public voter proportions or aspirations. Their interest is to engage in corrupt business deals to serve themselves and their stooges at people’s expense. The current election system is almost impenetrable by a young, innovative, honest grassroots representative with a different political mindset. Despite 21 amendments, our Constitution remains largely non-democratic with no checks and balances and allows even a convicted murderer to continue to enjoy parliamentary privileges. Neither our election system nor our Constitution has ever faced a national referendum for approval.

What is a PR-DM Election system?

An electoral district-wise meritocratic selection system with proportional representation in the Parliament will provide a sustainable solution for Sri Lanka to recover from its current misery. The Parliament is a place of constructive debate, a lawmaker and the guardian of our sovereignty and welfare. The Parliament is not a place of ‘business’ for personal gain. The elected policymakers need to be knowledgeable, people-friendly, empathic and moral to honour the interests of the public who voted them in. They should offer unbiased best resolutions for the country’s future.

The proposed new election system will represent the popular vote accurately in the Parliament and allow nominees at the grassroots level to reach the Parliament without having to run an obstacle course.

What are our gains?

It recognises and respects the equality of vote to promote trust and unity.

The election would produce a government that serves national interests.

It uses a simple, uncomplicated, transparent method understood by everyone.

The elected Parliament reflects district accountability.

The election design is robust and not favourable to divisive politics and exploitation of different communities using race, religion, descent and other forms of casts.

It seals the openings of corruption and voter intimidation through violence, decoy candidates, ‘Mushroom’ Parties and abstention.

Methods for selection of MPs

Nominations

Party nominations must be made by the ‘party branch’ in the electoral district and not by the party leader. This will prevent bias based on family dynasty, corrupt mindset, religion, race or gender.

All candidates should fulfil minimum eligibility criteria defined by the election commission (at least a minimum educational qualification and no criminal records). False declarations shall be a reason for dismissal even after the election and conduct of a by-election.

Phase 1 – Electoral District meritocracy based selection process 

Currently, there are 22 electoral districts in Sri Lanka. This PR-DM methods uses the same.

* Construct the total number of valid votes cast nationally (A)

* Divide (A) by 196 = the average value of each MP in polls (B)

* Divide the total valid votes cast district-wise by (B) = number of MPs for each district

* In other words,

* Apply above to all 22 districts.

* ‘Number of MPs in each district’ (D) may not be a whole number. Consider the integer part of it as the number of MPs to be elected from that electoral district. Use electoral district meritocracy in each district (candidates ranked by votes received in the district they are contesting) to select the winning candidates.

* The total number of MPs winning from all districts will be 196 or less. If it is less than 196, the remaining seats (E) will be used in Phase 2 (see below).

Phase 2 – National meritocracy based selection process

* The number of seats available for national meritocracy (F) = 29 + remaining seats from phase 1 (E)

* Prepare a national merit list of all candidates based on the number of votes (score) received by them in their contesting districts.

* Delete winning candidates of Phase 1 from this list.

* The result is a rank of the unelected candidates’ through a National merit list.

* Select the (F) number of MPs from the National unelected merit list.

By-Elections

Any vacancy arising in the parliament should be re-instated by a by-election held within 60 days. The selection process will be a meritocracy in the indexed electoral district.

Constituting the Parliament and the winning Party

1. Collate the total number of elected candidates by Party vs. Independent.

2. This will determine the winning party, and they can elect the prime minister.

3. All independent candidates will be collated as one group. If they have the highest number of MPs, they will be considered the winning party (even if they did not belong to a party at the outset)

4. In the event of an absence of a majority, parties may come together to form a shared government.

Advantages

1. This will curtail the ‘parachuting’ of MPs and party leader favourites and relatives.

2. A grassroots representation is guaranteed at the district level.

3. No covert discrimination of candidates by party leaders.

4. There are no bonus seats or backseat entrances via a ‘national’ list.

5. Promotes district representation. MPs not popular in the district will never get through.

6. Minimal opportunity for intimidation of voters during the election.

7. Voter corruption practices become damaging to the offenders and not others.

8. Electoral district borders are not an issue, as the election of candidates is based on votes cast in each district and not the number of votes registered.

9. Simple meritocracy replaces the corrupt Manapé system. 

10. National representation of women and youngsters in the Parliament will increase.

Make this a reality.

*Authors: Chula Goonasekera, Bernard Fernando and Janaka Ranasinghe Sagara on behalf of LEADS forum.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Hear! Hear!

    One way of achieving these proposals is to do away with duty free vehicles and other unnecessary perks to to prospective aspirants .
    This would also reduce riff raffs seeking high office..

  • 7
    0

    Lawlessness governing Sri Lanka… Oh this country was once known as the pearl of the Asia. Today it has fallen to the level of being filled with big criminals who robbed every penny.
    Sri Lanka’s judiciary is silent even though parliamentarians throw many accusations at former President Sirisena?-

    Why on earth did Sirisena fly to India and then to Singapore despite the CID warnings about possible a bomb blast in Sri Lanka?
    .
    Do we have reliable evidence to prove that former president’s trip to India that day was due to a medical emergency?

    As someone who works with patient laws, I know that, in rare cases, data protection laws can override and reveal a patient’s true medical history in any country where law-and-order works in favour of its people.

    IRONICALLY, the Sri Lankan courts remain silent on all these strong allegations against the former president….??????????????????????????

    . When will justice be served to the 300 victimized families and a few hundreds of injured? on that easter sunday ? What happened to us Sri Lankans?

      • 0
        3

        The paraiahs include Ranil Wickremainghe.
        .

        The worst crook is Ranil Wickremasinghe.

        That is what anonymous, cowardly “leelagemalli” refuses to face up to. That turns him into an absolute imposter..
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

        • 2
          0

          Stupid former schhool teacher@ sinhala man (ironically dont know sinhala) you are truly an insult to entire pensioned teachers.
          .
          ; Why don’t you use your brain and go to a therapy session? As far as I know Mulleriya is not far from Maharagama. Your IQ should also be tested. It is for the betterment of your supporters. Yours is far below to that of that ” SCHIZOPHANT” Dhammika paniya maker, remember ?
          .
          You are ruining our discussion of CT. CT has warned you dozens of times about your behavior. Allow commenters to advance their thoughts as they wish. That’s what freedom of speech is all about. Even if idiots like you don’t do that, UVINDU respects it.
          :
          No more big talk. Bring constructive arguments if you are intelligent to the questions raised by critic Raj about JVP. I challenge you, you would rather instead come with totally opposite thoughts. You are a born idiot… best example we the commenters got to see in today.
          :

  • 4
    0

    The article is like being concerned about a few cockroaches in a room in which a bulky and inappropriately situated elephant has been hanging around, disrupting everything the people need. The article ignores the colossal damage of an utterly corrupt system that has been the bane of not just the social, economic, financial and political systems but the country in all its major aspects of living. To talk about a flawed electoral system when a disaster has put a third of the country below $2 a day income, and half the nation is malnourished is like ignoring the flatulent diarrhea of the above elephant in the room.

  • 1
    0

    In Sri Lanka, many changes and proposals that are made are always based on highly complex, complicated brain-cracking and splitting means and methods. That happens when the very persons who propose to make the changes want to exhibit their acumen and professionalism. Nothing is made SIMPLE, (easy to understand) and those meet COMMON SENSE. The “Big Brains” think that the more the proposals are made complicated the more their smartness is shown. The above proposals too are of that quality.
    Instead of all these why not (1) Revert back to the good old day’s system of “Electorates” (0ne member for one seat and one vote) and do away with the present system of “District” voting and “Manapaya” juglary. (2) Redefine the “Electorate” based on the spread of population (not based on communal basis) and limit the elected number of seats to 150 to 175 maximum. (3) Do away with the “National List” nominations. (3) De list all the political parties that represent “Communities” and “Religions” ( e.g. Tamil, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., etc..) All Political Parties must be “NATIONAL” in composition and representation. (4) Bring a “Code of Ethics” for the elected representatives and introduce a “RECALL” procedure.

  • 0
    0

    contd….. (5) Do away with the Presidential system and entrust all legislative matters to the Parliament. (6) All the Independent Commissions must be truly INDEPENDENT and the appointments of members must be by a Parliamentary Committee. (7) JUSTICE must be common to all. (8) The MANIFESTO of the Governing party must be the “Guide” for Governance and any citizen must have the right to sue the political party if that “Manifesto” is deviated.

    The whole of the “POLITICAL CULTURE” must be changed. All the perks (all types of allowances e.g. allowance to attend Parliamentary meetings; houses; pensions; car permits etc. etc..) must be STOPPED. STOP maintaining the Ex-Presidents and their spouses.

    The above “CULTURAL” buffoonery must be scraped. That is what is needed to REFORM the country and that is what the People DEMAND.

    • 2
      0

      Douglas,
      Somewhere else, you had added a comment to me. Thank for that. SINHALA MAN or the like ultra stupid men would never see it right. Nor would they reach near to understand the real problems of the people.

      That is why srilankens remain stagnated with their awarness. You know this from your KADAMANDIYA people.
      SM called me all the despiciable words sofar… the last has been ” ass” however, almsot everyone is becoming clear, who the real ASS is. I hope he would realize it oneday.
      .
      Btw, did you watch this video of Rise of Mugabe in Rhodeisa ?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpZHenqsc14
      .
      I think if AKD with current thoughts would lead our nation, our country would end up becoming like current Zimbabwe for sure.

      He should make links with other good politicians in this country. That is the only wayout to achieve our goals. oUR goal is to turn this nation to be a progressive one.
      .
      He should finally understand that people in this country woudl not support only JVPrs. The political rides were seen always before getting them elections. However, most of them did not vote for them. The reasons has been the same. People should change their thinking with a paradigm shift, otherwise, no elections would make real changes to this nation.

  • 0
    0

    Dear LM: There are NO thoughts of AKD. The thoughts expressed by AKD are COLLECTIVE thoughts designed according to the policies of NPP. Please remember there is NO personality worship in NPP. That’s for sure. AKD is yet another spokesperson among many others and he is the only leader to LEAD who is pledged to carry out the Action Plans. If he FAILS, he will be KICKED out for sure. There are no LIFE-LONG leaders in NPP.

    That is the main difference between ALL other political parties and NPP. I don’t think any other political party would even think of joining the NPP neither NPP would accept others who are far far away from that idealogy.

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