30 September, 2020

Blog

Another Look At The Elections Commission

By C.A. Chandraprema

C.A. Chandraprema

Not a day goes by without the Elections Commission making it into the front pages of newspapers and all for the wrong reasons. It may be just one member playing ducks and drakes but the fact is that the EC has become one of the most controversial institutions in the country – a situation that never existed when the there was an Elections Department headed by the Elections Commissioner. If the Elections authority in any country is making it to the front pages regularly, that is a sign of trouble. The elections authority is the final arbiter of the democratic system in any country and it should be a non-controversial, low profile institution. The controversies within Sri Lanka’s Elections Commission is now public knowledge and it has become a political sideshow much like a faction ridden political party. This Elections Commission can be described as one of the last remnants of the spectacularly dysfunctional yahapalana regime of execrable memory. To take stock of the present day Elections Commission, one has to look back at its history.

History of the Elections Commission

An Elections Commission to replace what was up to that moment the Department of Elections headed by the Elections Commissioner was first mooted in the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which became law on 3 October 2001. The EC that was to be constituted under the 17th Amendment was to have five members. However, an Elections Commission was never appointed under the 17th Amendment apparently because the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga did not like the names that had been proposed by the Constitutional Council. The 17th Amendment had a transitional provision which stated that The person holding office as the Commissioner of Elections on the day immediately preceding the date of the commencement of that Amendment, shall continue to exercise and perform the powers and functions of the office of Commissioner of Elections as were vested in him immediately prior to the commencement of that Act, and of the Election Commission, until an Election Commission is constituted.

Thus it came to be that the then Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake was virtually held prisoner by the Constitution without being allowed to retire until the Elections Commission was appointed. It was the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which became law on 9 September 2010, that actually liberated Dayananda Dissanayake enabling him to retire. The 18th Amendment made changes to the Elections Commission that had been mooted by the 17th Amendment by reducing the number of members of the Elections Commission from five to three, and enabling the President to appoint the three members of the Elections Commission without the recommendations of the Constitutional Council. In fact the 18th Amendment abolished the Constitutional Council as introduced by the 17th Amendment and replaced it with a Parliamentary Council consisting of the Prime Minister; the Speaker; the Leader of the Opposition; a nominee of the Prime Minister, who shall be a Member of Parliament; and a nominee of the Leader of the Opposition, who shall be a Member of Parliament. According to the 18th Amendment, the recommendations or the approval of this Parliamentary Council was not necessary for the Pesident to appoint members of the Elections Commission.

As it turned out, an Elections Commission was never appointed by the President even under the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment however had a transitional provision which had the effect of liberating the long suffering Dayananda Dissnayake: It went as follows: “the President may, if he considers it expedient to do so or if the exigencies of a situation so requires it, at any time prior to the constitution of the Election Commission, appoint to the office of Commissioner of Elections, a person holding office as an Additional Commissioner of Elections or a Deputy Commissioner of Elections to discharge the functions presently conferred on the Commission by the Constitution.”

It was under this transitional provision that Dayananda Dissanayake was allowed to retire and Mahinda Deshapriya was appointed as the Elections Commissioner. The latter functioned in this position through the presidential election of January 2015 and the parliamentary election of August 2015. When Mahinda Deshapriya made his famous Blackbeard the prirate style pronouncement in the run-up to the presidential elections of 2015, ordering the police to shoot anyone trying to break election laws in the head, he was the Commissioner of Elections not the head of an independent Elections Commission. It was only in November 2015 that the Elections Commission was finally constituted under the 19th Amendment which had been passed into law in April 2015. Mahinda Deshapriya, now retired from his position as Commissioner of Elections, became the first Chairman of the Elections Commission with the former Legal Draftsman N.A. Abeysekera and Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole as its other members.

Dysfunctional from day one

From day one, this purportedly independent and powerful Elections Commission has been an unmitigated disaster. The former Elections Commissioner was supposed to be a mere government departmental head appointed by the President whereas the present Elections Commission was supposed to be an independent and powerful body that was constituted by the Constitutional Council. Yet after the Elections Commission was instituted, the first thing its three members had to do was to play the role of the three wise monkyes that saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil while the yahapalana government dodged holding the local government elections which were due after March 2015. Many members of the public were perplexed. The 19th Amendment set up what were touted as ‘independent’ commissions, yet here was the so called independent Elections Commission standing by helplessly while the government arbitrarily delayed elections.

For nearly three years, Sri Lanka had no local government institutions. When questioned about the absence of elections to the long dissolved LG institutions, the three commission members would state that there was nothing they could do and that it was up to the government to make the move to hold elections – exactly the kind of thing one would have expected from the Elections Department of old. In August and September 2017 the yahapalana government moved to change the system of elections to the local government institutions and the provincial councils. It was plain that the main ulterior motive behind the change of the system of elections was to postpone elections to the local government institutions and provincial councils indefinitely. With the change of the system of elections to these institutions came the need to demarcate constituencies.

As expected, a great number of issues came up, or were deliberately brought up with regard to the demarcation of wards to the local government institutions. Some individuals representing yahapalana interests filed action in courts citing demarcation issues in an attempt to get the elections postponed indefinitely. But the Elections Commission to its credit announced that they would go ahead with elections to the local government institutions that were not embroiled in litigation. That was the first time the Elections Commission did anything proactive to ensure that elections to the dissolved local government institutions were held. If the EC had in fact gone ahead and held elections to a limited number of local government institutions leaving the rest left for later, that would have been disadvantageous to the yahapalana coalition as the defeat in the first round would have been amplified in the second round. Besides, there was the hope at that election that the division of UPFA votes as SLPP and SLFP would allow the UNP to come out on top automatically. So the latter caved in and decided to allow the election to take place. The yahapalana activists who had gone to courts citing demarcation issues withdrew their cases and a countrywide local government election was held.

The holding of the February 2018 local government election was a victory of sorts for the fledgeling Elections Commission because this was their first election and an election that was made possible due to the intervention of the EC. Even though they managed to have the LG elections held, the provincial council elections got stuck in a legislative limbo which was beyond the control of the EC. The yahapalana government had a phobia of elections. The real drama in the Elections Commission which we see continuing to date, began after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament in October 2018 and called for fresh elections. Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole a member of the purportedly independent EC went to the Supreme Court along with the yahapalana political parties against the holding of a Parliamentary election.

This in a situation where the then government had delayed local government elections by nearly three years and made it impossible to hold provincial council elections. Now a member of the independent Elections Commission was openly playing ball with the government to dodge holding parliamentary elections as well – a scandalous situation by any reckoning. The yahapalana coalition even tried to dodge the presidentail election of 2019. With just two working days to go to the close of nominations, a former local government head from Galle petitioned the Supreme Court seeking an order calling off the election. Thankfully, this was dismissed by the SC. The attempt of the yahapalana government was to use the law and court procedures to postpone the presidential election failing which they would try to knock out the opposition candidate before the election using the powers vested in the EC by the Presidential Elections Act.

The Hoole phenomenon

The trickiest obstacle that the SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to navigate was Section 14(1)(a) of the Presidential Elections Act whereby objection may be made to the nomination papers of a candidate to the effect that the said candidate is not qualified to be elected as President. If the EC upheld such an objection and rejected the nomination paper of a candidate, the recourse that such a candidate had was to file an election petition but by that time, the Presidentail election would have been over and a new president would have been installed in office. The power of the Elections Commission in this regard was hanging like a sword of Damocles over GR’s candidacy and one never knew what would happen on 7 October 2019 after nominations closed. Ratnajeevan Hoole, himself a Sri Lankan – American dual citizen, was interested in probing whether candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had relinquished his American citizenship.

GR at that time had the all documents issued to him by the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka confirming that he had indeed relinquished his dual citizenship and was now a citizen only of Sri Lanka. In normal circusmatnces, that documentation would be final. Indeed two members of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya and N.A. Abeysekera seemed inclined to accept the documents issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration, but not Prof. Hoole. Section 14(1)(a) of the Presidential Elections Act gave the Elections Commission enormous powers if an objection was raised as to a candidate’s qualifications. If Hoole had been joined by one other member of the EC, that would have been the end of democracy in this country. What put paid to the yahapalana attempts to knock GR out of the race before the election, was the case filed by Gamini Viyangoda and Chandraguptha Thenuwara in the Appeal Court challenging GR’s Sri Lankan citizenship. The verdict of the Appeal Court just before nominations were handed over, made any attempt to raise objections based on his citizenship a futile exercise.

In actual fact, this should never have been an issue except for the fact that with Ratnajeevan Hoole playing politics in the EC, one never knew which way things would turn. In 2015, with the entire Constitutional Council full of yahapalanites, all the so called independent Commissions had also been filled with yahapalanites. By some stroke of luck, of the three members of the EC, two happened to be veteran public servants, Mahinda Deshapriya and N.A. Abeysekera. It’s because of them that some degree of sanity has prevailed in the end. If Ratnajeevan Hoole and one other NGO type of the sort that we see serving in other independent Commissions had been in the Elections Commission, by now, the democratic system as we knew it, would have ceased to exist in this country.

This Elections Commission has to be reformed. One option would be to abolish the EC altogether and to revert back to the old Department of elections with an Elections Commissioner. Even Mahinda Deshapriya may admit that he was at his best when he was the Elections Commissioner. It was at that time that he ordered the police to shoot election law violators in the head. As the 1998 case of Karunatilleke and Another vs Dayananda Dissanayake showed, even the Supreme Court believed that the powers conferred by the Pre-17th Amendment and pre-19th Amendment Constitution, were quite sufficient to give the Commissioner of Elections the independence to perform his duties.

If the Elections Commission is to be retained in its present form, it may be necessary to introduce provisions in the Constitution to ensure that all three members of the EC are retired senior public servants who have experience in working under different governments. One of the Commission members has to be a retired senior official of the Elections Commission itself. It can be established by law that the other two members of the Elections Commission always had to be retired senior public servants who had served in various capacities including that of Government Agent and Ministry Secretary. Experienced administrators who have worked closely with politicians belonging to various governments, will be more attuned to allowing the will of the people to prevail at elections without trying to prevent the defeat of the side they favour.

Appointing Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole to the Elections Commission was as bad a mistake as appointing Shirani Bandaranayake to the Supreme Court. People from academia have attitudes which make them singulary unsuited to hold positions in institutions that preside over adversarial contests whether it be elections or court cases – the academic may tend to take sides and plug his own line as we now see happening in the case of Prof. Hoole. The present Elections Commission will be completing its term at the end of this year. The next Constitutional Council in the next Parliament should ensure that of the three members of the next EC, the two members other than the retired senior elections official, are retired public servants who have experience in working with various governments over the years and who are mature enough to understand that governments change from time to time and that the will of the people has to be given expression to and respected if the democratic system is to survive.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    7

    Does anyone know who produced the GR’s “Certificate of Loss of Nationality” (CLN) issued by the US State Department to SL courts before November 2019 presidential election..??

    • 0
      6

      Not by GR…..
      Not by GR’s lawyers…..
      Not by SLPP…..
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Any guesses..??

      • 0
        0

        SCP@

        My guess is his Brother Basil AKA 10% to the very same manner how he falcified them regarding GAMPAHA palace which was then built by the cost of STATE… the case is still under investigation since BP Sirisena di dnot allow it to continue without being biased. This case is one among the dozens of others, that have been manipualed by ballige puthas to the very same manner they did it with Gota s US citizen ship issue.

        Not long ago, BP Rajakshes enjoyed themselves saying that PEOPLE across country are so stupdid and uneducated – so they could easily grab their votes for their come back.
        :
        Just come with one single EXAMPLE where BALLIGE puthas sacrificed their ALLOWANCEs for the benefit of the poor of the poor, these blood suckers only ruin this nation … with the direct support of your PINGONAs… .. your total ignornace and stupidity.

        • 1
          0

          Mr. Leela ge …..,
          .
          I don’t think you are educated enough for the guessing game………
          That’s why you didn’t understand “”It was produced to SL courts by a well known person(s) who shouted against GR’s nomination”” part.
          .
          And
          Don’t dry to drag the point away…….
          You can get the correct answer from the people who “Agreed inside and cried outside”
          .
          And
          Stop accusing GR. You foolish idiots couldn’t prove a single allegation you raised. So all those allegations were bullshit.
          .
          Dr Rajitha Senaratne is in remand prison for the crimes he committed.
          He will have his day in court.
          If you think he is innocent try and prove it in courts (If possible).
          Your “won the recognition” “achieved lot” criminal committed his crime in “National TV”. In front of a audience.
          .
          And…..
          To be frank…..
          Who cares what you bullshiters think.

    • 15
      1

      Now that Dr. Dayan has retired hurt from the post of chief courtesan to the Pohottuwa, it is only natural that Prof. Chandraprema should continue keeping up the traditions of the oldest profession. So what’s new?

      • 2
        13

        Mr. old codger,
        .
        No…
        It’s “”Hoole the bull” that is doing the profession you are quoting doing for the doomed “yahapalana” setup.

        • 14
          3

          “Appointment of Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole to the elections commission was as bad a mistake as appointing Shirani Bandaranayake to supreme court”. Certainly it was better than appointing a murderer, liar and racist to the UNHCR in Geneva. I hope that UN will ensure that only those who are mature enough to understand the values of human rights and equality and that the will of the world has to be given expression to and to be respected if the founding principles of UN is to survive are permitted to hold office in its precinct portals.

          • 1
            5

            Dr. Gnana
            Your UN has danced for decades to the tune played by USA and Israel. Only UN could do was to bully small countries like SL. How about asking UN to talk about Human Right violation by super powers who are in the line before Sri Lanka? Why can not these superpowers to release the list of SL refugees living in other countries who are double counted as missing in your bogus numbers. History always proved that the leader who comes to a nation was the one a nation deserved at that time. The right leader came and did the job. When MR’s close associated started behaving erratically, SL got another leader to readjust the direction. When they showed the weak leadership, the nation got GR. He is the need of the hour. If EC members have issues, complain to Constitution Council. If CC does not listen, go to SC. Behaving like an irritant fly in the EC is not the way. GR does not care as he has a more important job to do for the nation. Leave him alone and let him work. Defeat him at an election if you can.

          • 7
            0

            Dr.G,
            So you have heard of one “Thadi Priyantha”?

            • 6
              0

              You mean that Candauda Arachchige fellow, who was the chief executioner during Premadasa / Ranil Wickremasinghe reign of terror.

              • 0
                0

                “You mean that Candauda Arachchige fellow, “
                Ditto.

        • 0
          0

          In today s context, YAHAPALANYA achievements thousand times commendable.. for sure, if Minsiter of Health – Senaratne was in place, srilanken situation would have been a role model to the world today in terms of control of COVID in the country.
          :
          But today, only self-glorifications of Rajakshes to their STUPID people are only what we get to see in TV screens. Sure, Modi may have added few words. Swaziland (dont mix it up with switzerland) would welcome the achievements of BP Rajakshes# because those men have much in common with Rajakshes rascality.

    • 6
      0

      It wasn’t available in November 2019. GR got it this year. Deshapriya told others it’s all under control. US Ambassador told media GR is no longer an American citizen at that time. In return he is going to pawn SL to USA like he did with ACSA. Yankee Dickie-2.

      • 0
        4

        My dear Mr. GATAM.
        .
        GR’s “Certificate of Loss of Nationality” was……….
        .
        Legally available from 17th April 2019.
        Physically available from 3rd May 2019.
        .
        Well before November elections.
        .
        It was produced to SL courts by a well known person(s) who shouted against GR’s nomination.
        .
        Ask Professor Samuel Ratnajeevan Herbert Hoole.
        He knows.

    • 1
      0

      Mrs Pasqual,
      .
      I have no doubt, your WIMAL BURUWANSE would explain it how.
      .
      Reports say BP WImal has been an expert of doing that stuff – namely he had several birth certificates, several passports etc…if you arenot born yesterday… ?

      And we perfectly know how talented BP Gotler in terms of AVANGARDE and various other crime investigations.
      :
      A man who won the recognition to have achieved lot in HEALTH services – Dr Rajitha Senaratne is in prison today but were any of Rajakshes in jail for any high crimes incl. Murders they deliberatly committed ????????????????????????????????

      So what is the point of even raising how GR falcified his US citizenship renouncement related documentation… ?

  • 19
    0

    What Chandraprema wants is an Election Commission that dance to the requirement of the Mahinda family only. What he says is that Srilankan Senior governments servants and senior military commanders can be bought simply paying a bribe which is one of the major weapon Mahinda Family are experts. Today, I read a news that Mahinda Rajapakse said that it is the waste of time to going to Courts because the executive President can do anything he wants and they will get a two third majority in the parliament whether election is held now or after 3 months or after 3 years. In other words they have already decided election results because it will happen under the control of Military even counting and declaring the results. They are experts on coups as well.

  • 11
    0

    “…People from academia have attitudes?”

    If such attitudes are necessary ingredients for the integrity of a system, and they are non-toadying, that is actually welcome.

    What is the educational background and qualifications for Chandraprema to be taken seriously?
    I know he was an anti-JVP, pro-Premadasa guy who might have been involved in the UNP paramilitaries, was a close friend/drinking buddy of Taraki Sivaram while the latter was associated with TamilNet, but later justified his friend’s murder. Finally a Gota acolyte who wrote a fawning book.

    In SL many school dropouts become scribes and claim they possess knowledge and wisdom. If they show objectivity, wide reading, and write without fear or favor, then that might be acceptable. But a lot of them become toadies and they should be exposed for what they are.

    • 1
      7

      Agnos
      Forget about the qualifications of the writer, Sirima had 8th grade education. DS Senanayke I heard , has only until 4th grade. You know about Mithree. So, argue with facts given by the writer, not based on his educational qualifications. What CA meant by ” People from academia have attitudes” mean that they tend to pursue own narrow ideology rather than understanding whole picture. This is why many professionals failed at higher political level. EC members must behave independently, not biased to one political party. For an example, any SC judge may have own political preferences, Can they write or express their opinion in public? No. Can they attend social gathering and behave like party boys, if they like. No. There are norms. Hoole has violated the norms. He can get out and scream rather than making EC a political circus.

      • 5
        0

        Atu,

        Maybe Hoole wants to give publicity to certain things in the belief that if he stays silent, many things will be suppressed with no way for the public to have a sense of justice. You cannot speak about norms when the broader political culture in SL hasn’t been clean and fair. Do you think Sarath Silva and Mohan Peiris were good Chief Justices? Why is CA picking only at Shiranee and why are you going along with it? Only a Rajapaksa toady would do that.

        What you say about norms would be true if SL’s other institutions, including the parliament, the judiciary, the police, tri-forces, civil society, etc., had reached a certain level of maturity and independence. Alas, SL is nowhere close to that.

      • 0
        0

        People from academia have attitudes” mean that they tend to pursue own narrow ideology rather than understanding whole picture. Do you know the usage of attitude here? Usage here is cranky, prickly, overly prideful, not guessing others’ feeling……..

        Too higher education in professions makes some people to think narrowly. A doctor looks at many issues, but none deep, enough. But Neurosurgeon looks at only one area, but deep. So, professional mentality is not suitable for administration. They tend to create sub-optimization.

        But, here does Chandraperuma mean other two eighth graders are having problems in catching up with Hoole?

        Chandraperuma wants one person election department. I think better Idea is, instead of 6 family members from the Royal family wasting time with the government, can’t one manage all the function and the rest play rugger? So EP is enough and other five should not stand in the coming election. Further why do they want 225 donkeys in Parliament? Isn’t it cost sometimes too much money for doing donkey trading, in an emergency like the one forced the coup 2018 to fails?

    • 4
      1

      Agnos
      I do not dispute your rejection of Chandraprema. But I think that you are giving excessive importance to paper qualifications.
      Some great leaders of the world have been school dropouts for reasons of poverty and other personal circumstances.
      One’s past conduct and sensitivity to issues are more important.
      Formal education helps, but not a hell of a lot. The things that you say in your last para will apply to supposedly learned folk too.

      • 6
        0

        SJ,

        Of course paper qualifications alone don’t help. If people dropped out for legitimate reasons but poured their heart into developing themselves as leaders in something, with good character, integrity, etc., then that is something to be valued.

        But here in the US, I am aware of many academics who did well as administrators. Madeleine Albright was a professor at Georgetown before she did well as Secretary of State. William Perry was a Stanford engineering professor who did well as Defense Secretary. Ashton Carter, an academic at Harvard, did well as Defense Secretary under Obama. John M. Deutch, provost at MIT, did well in the department of energy and as head of the CIA under Clinton. Among the recent Presidential contenders, Elizabeth Warren, a law professor at Harvard before becoming Senator, showed the most competence on policy issues, and might become the progressive VP candidate for Biden. If voters have the good sense to elect that ticket, then the Trump era will be blip.

        In SL people can point to academics who have shown very poor judgement, like G.L.Peiris, Sarath Amunugama, Tissa Witharana and many others. The political culture hasn’t nurtured many independent-minded academics. Hoole might have to be more diplomatic in certain cases and not be so outspoken all the time, but his presence at the EC has been for the good of the public.

    • 6
      0

      Agnos-

      No paper qualifications would further be necessary if you are talented to mislead the nation. That is what Rajapakshes have been doing all along.. dont you think so ? That they call it is the talent – and each of them were awarded honorary Dr Titles making them beyond Dr Mervin Silva … haha..

      Gone were the days, srilanka respected
      -educated people
      -civilized people
      -cultured people

      Our MAFIA BOSS Mahinda Rajakashes and his men revolutionized SRILANKEN traditions.
      :
      Now us being thrown on to a DICTATORSHIP – which is now in making, I really dont think it is worth talking about ACADEMIC qualifications.

      See, best example is OXFORD educated GLP kneel down before SCHOOL-DROP Wimal Buruwanse for the last 10 years or so – is that not enough as the most known example for you guys ?

  • 7
    0

    **If the Elections authority in any country is making it to the front pages regularly, that is a sign of trouble**

    Yes, Thadi Priyantha. We are hoping that by making it to the front pages they will prevail in restoring a semblance of democracy to our dear country; the democracy that is in the process of being brazenly stolen from the citizens of Sri Lanka by a bunch of uncouth, power crazy and loutish racists.

  • 7
    0

    There are lot of advantages of three member commission over one powerful election commissioner. Because there are three persons they can come to decision after the consensus. It is difficult to government to manipulate three independently appointed members rather than putting pressure on one person.
    It is acceptable to have disagreement within three commissioners but I think professor Hoole should not refrain from playing the game in the press.
    Current situation in the country is not suitable to have election with real threat of COVID virus. It is only because of the commission that goverment is unable use it might to force an election as they eager to get 2/3 majority by any means.

  • 4
    0

    There are lot of advantages of three member commission over one powerful election commissioner. Because there are three persons they can come to decision after the consensus. It is difficult to government to manipulate three independently appointed members rather than putting pressure on one person.
    It is acceptable to have disagreement within three commissioners but I think professor Hoole should refrain from playing the game in the press.
    Current situation in the country is not suitable to have election with real threat of COVID virus. It is only because of the commission that goverment is unable use it might to force an election as they eager to get 2/3 majority by any means.

  • 3
    0

    The intellectual dishonesty of academics is known to anyone in the university system . They know how to favor or push deep down the drain a student despite so called safeguards. University students in Sri Lanka are mindful not to cross the path of an academic. But I am wondering whether the account of the author regarding Prof. Hoole’s desire to probe on the nature of citizenship of GR is accurate because the Chairman made it public that the evaluation of it is beyond the scope of the Commission and Prof. Hoole did not “oppose” as usual. It is true that the Elections Department had a tradition of “Independence” and that was upheld by every Chief irrespective of the way he was appointed. Somewhere in 2006 a prominent minister addressing his staff had the occasion to say “If the Commission is appointed for the Elections there won’t be elections. Commissions are a failure in this country and gave the example of a prominent Regulatory Commission, whose present chief executive once described it as dysfunctional.” After all those prophetic words have come true. More than the Constitutional safeguards it is the independent minds that make institutions independent.

  • 4
    0

    C.A. Chandraprema,

    As usual, your article is very informative!

    Having said this, I must strongly assert that your conclusion is flawed and counterproductive and shows your political bias.

    Independent commission is necessary in a country like Sri Lanka. Just look at India how Independent commissions conduct free and fair elections to the best of their ability.

    Independent Commission rather than a department seems to be your second choice at least until the 19A is sent to the dustbin that according to you is only a matter of time until the next election where your favorites are expected to get two third majority.

    In the interim, your recommendation is to have three retired public servants as commissioners to facilitate malpractices and rigging.

    democracy in peril!

  • 1
    0

    This article is nothing more than an emotional rant to soothe the authors biases. Muddled, illogical, omissive, and seemingly to written to target Prof. Hoole, the EC commission member who has foremost stood to serve the mandate of the independent Election Commission.
    ——————
    The idea that the transitional provision of the 17th amendment chained Dayananda Dissanayake to the EC commissioner role and literally made him a prisoner to the commission is preposterous. The transitional provision ensured seamless continuance and avoided any politically favoured appointment that could have lingered on when the new EC commission was recommended by the CC to the president for appointment. Dayananda had laws in his favour to step aside from a role that he didn’t want. Were those legal experts who composed the 17th amendment ignorant of the fact that people can die unexpectedly even if they are somehow illegally forbidden not to resign?
    ——————
    The constitution has clearly defined the mandate of the Election Commission. It has also clearly directed who has the exclusive authority to call elections; it ain’t the EC.
    Why then the author is overly dismayed and dramatic on the inaction of the EC on the indefinite postponement of the local elections when the EC has no authority to do anything until an election is called?

  • 1
    0

    “Section 14(1)(a) of the Presidential Elections Act gave the Elections Commission enormous powers if an objection was raised as to a candidate’s qualifications. If Hoole had been joined by one other member of the EC, that would have been the end of democracy in this country. “ So now Lankawe is a Democracy (or is it a demons’- crazy)? That is fine with us but, then why did in 2014 King told The Hindu that democracy is Western style; not suitable for Lankawe. Lankaweyans had lived only under kings? Saving the democracy is good, but the case in America by Ahimsa didn’t vanish yet. Waiting with Jaliya, hand in hand, until King is going back there
    In normal circusmatnces, that documentation would be final. So one standing on presidential election is just normal act like a Lankawe government employee cut the work and take the office jeep to buy Malu, a daily duty? Any way how did the King get that certification?

    “ Appointing Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole to the Elections Commission was as bad a mistake as appointing Shirani Bandaranayake to the Supreme Court. “ One appointment was done by Ranil; (Probably you may want to compare to Arjun Mahendran –both are Demulues giving trouble to Slap Party.), other was done by Old King. Though, Hoole is resisting to the royals as much as Shiranee Bandaranayke did, still the comparison is between apples and oranges. One is for SC, there is everything according to the pre-established law; other in an Independent Commission, the member has his/her free will.

  • 1
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    The real drama in the Elections Commission which we see continuing to date, began after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament in October 2018 and called for fresh elections. Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole a member of the purportedly independent EC went to the Supreme Court along with the yahapalana political parties against the holding of a Parliamentary election.
    New King by breaking constitution has lost his civic rights (, but of cause Ranil dismissed the punishment phase of the case and the injunction to save New King and Old King). Old King grabbed a parliament using the Parliaments’ guards, not with majority. Sadly, Independent election commission missed it duty; it should have took a front page advertisement on all newspapers and should have informed to the public as Old King had illegally supported the parliament dissolution and New King didn’t had authority to dissolve Parliament and declare a fresh election, the commission will not recognize their authority to proclaim an election, so commission will not act on the gazette notification & conduct the election. Instead Mahinda Patriotic Deshapriya naively said he is going to resign because he feared to talk. Hoole had no other way so went to SC.
    Hoole’s case was different and based on different complains; But SC put them all together. Chandraperuma doesn’t have the capacity to understand the differences in those cases. Anyway is that why Hisbullah is now arrested? To teach a lesson to Hoole for filing a case using Hisbullah?

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    Uncle, Whats new in Lanka ???? Agnos, you are absolutely right about having educated people who could also preserve some self respect , dignity and integrity in politics. In Lanka such people are now of extinct species.Ignorant Lankans in denial, tend to generalize and stereo type the rest of the world, as they see them self.. Lets leave aside the fact, education and knowledge are of any value in politics , just count how many of such people we have right now in GOP. As you mentioned, even in not so perfect system, there are abled ,qualified, honest people exist, making it functional. In Lanka , Few who were thought to have such qualities, have long lost , along with their self respect and dignity. Jeff Sessions is a veteran politician,ex AG and die hard Republican serving under Trump , when it reached a point he made the right decision to withdrew out of Trump hearing for which he still earns the wrath of Trump (even yesterday he abused him in Twitter). As long comments are concerned, people who abused Hoole elsewhere based on FAKE NEWS are now continuing the same here.

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    Chandraprema Wroye GOTAS WAR. Amply rewarded as Ambassador of Switzerland

    Now writing another book

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