Colombo Telegraph

Sirisena Govt Violates Basic Democratic Obligations Without Sharing Draft Bills: Friday Forum

“To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the Nineteenth Amendment without even sharing them on the official Government website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance”, says the Friday Forum.

Dr.Deepika Udagama

Issuing a statement today on transparency and public consultation within the 100 day program, the Friday Forum urges the Government to achieve a better balance between implementing all these key reforms within the time frame, and meeting its responsibility towards the people of Sri Lanka for this to be transparent and consultative.

We publish below the statement in full;

The Friday Forum commends the efforts of the Government to implement the 100 day program as promised in President Sirisena’s election manifesto. However it is also concerned that focusing largely on accomplishing this within the short time frame may risk overriding other aspects like democratic and consultative processes and stakeholder interests. To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the Nineteenth Amendment without even sharing them on the official Government website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance. While welcoming the move by the government to hold a stakeholder consultation on the Draft Right to Information Bill in a few days, we would nevertheless wish to express the need to facilitate a broader consultative process as the series of contemplated legislation is of vital importance to entrench democratic governance in the country.

We urge the Government to achieve a better balance between implementing all these key reforms within the time frame, and meeting its responsibility towards the people of Sri Lanka for this to be transparent and consultative, even if the outcome is a delay or deferment over and above the 100 days. The President was given an overwhelming mandate for his promise of good governance as much as for the 100 day implementation, and best practices of the former must be seen in the latter. While we as citizens understand the difficulties of implementing 100 day commitments, we expect the government to identify priority areas with transparency and proceed to formulate changes in a consultative and democratic manner.

Professor Savitri Goonesekere               Ms. Shanthi Dias               Dr. Deepika Udagama,

on behalf of the Friday Forum

Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi, Rt. Reverend Duleep de Chickera, Professor Camena Guneratne, Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Mr. Saliya Pieris, Mr. Ananda Galappatti, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Ms. Manouri  Muttettuwegama, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Ms, Damaris Wickremesekera, Professor Gameela Samarasinghe, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere, Mr. Faiz-ur Rahman, Mr. Danesh Casie-Chetty, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Dr A.C.Visvalingam, Mr. Javid Yusuf, Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne.

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