Outcry of many concerned citizens against appointment of those who had lost the trust and confidence of the people at the General Election through the National List, drove me to do a little bit of research on the introduction of the National List MP to the Parliament, through the 14th Amendment in 1988.
I found the research findings are truly interesting. The observations (reproduced below) made on the so-called “National List Issue” by some MPs when this Amendment was debated in the Parliament on 04th May 1988, would be an eye opener to the entire electorate. The time-tested arguments made against the introduction of the National List, clearly confirm that the people of this country has been effectively conned by the respective Political party leaderships.
The plain truth is that sovereign power of electing representatives to the Parliament vested in the people (Article 4 (c) have been openly abused by the respective political parties, including the JVP, to bring back those who have been rejected by the people through the back door.
R Premadasa, Prime Minister: “… Names presented by the Parties would be published in the gazette, immediately after the acceptance of the Nominations for the Election. Therefore, there would be an advance notice to the people about those who would be elected through the national list …”
Dinesh Gunawardana MP: “…The situation is very grave and unfortunate. The main political parties would abuse the ‘National List’ concept to introduce fraudsters to Parliament who cannot win people’s mandate to enter Parliament… ”
Richard Pathirana, MP: “… The National List concept would allow rejected candidates to enter Parliament. This power is given to the Party Secretary. This damages the sovereignty of the people”(who enjoy the legislative power which they exercise through the elected representatives to the Parliament – Article 4 (a)].
Anil Munasinghe, MP: “… The people to be nominated for the 29 seats were to be nominated together with other names for the General Election, but now you have added that once the 196 names are declared elected the party secretary can nominate, for that number of seats that you are entitled to, from the list of 29, which you have sent or from those who have already been nominated. We are against the principle, the second part being added, because you are bringing in people who are defeated in the General Election through the back door into Parliament…. If they are good they would not have been defeated. Surely it is a bad principle to bring a person who has been defeated…”
There is no ambiguity in the whole process. The bottom-line is that the Prime Minister, R Premadasa, who introduced bill to the Parliament had hoodwinked the entire house to enact the 14th amendment to the Constitution. After the Supreme Determination on the 14th Amendment was sent to the Speaker the Prime Minister Mr Premadasa, assured that Names of these party nominees would be made known beforehand and their names published in the Gazette immediately after the closing of nominations. And the Prime Minister said that the voters would know the identity of the candidates of the different parties who are to be elected as national list members.
But what the electorate is forced to experience after the 14th Amendment made law is completely the opposite. The political parties are permitted to disregard the names published by the gazette and instead party leadership is allowed to nominate the National list MPs, according its whims and fancies, with a scan respect to the sovereign rights of the people.