Sep 21, 2017

‘Worst anti-system amendment’ - CaFFE Featured

Yesterday’s (20) passage of the provincial councils (amendment) act is the worst anti-system amendment of legislation in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary history, says CaFFE executive director Keerthi Tennakoon.

It had disregarded a Supreme Court determination, violated the constitution and parliamentary traditions in a move to put off elections, he says in a statement.

An amendment declared by the SC to be inconsistent with the constitution was adopted by a two-third majority through the backdoor by the UNP, SLFP and the JVP, in a first such undignified instance in parliament, says Tennakoon.

Even the MPs and the elections commission first saw the amendments on the day of the vote, leaving alone the absence of a public or professional dialogue on its content, he notes, adding that all those go against the principles of good governance.

It also gives anti-democratic dictatorial powers to the leader of a party to appoint candidates elected to a provincial council, although the promise was to introduce a mixed electoral system.

The amendment will give clear political advantages to Muslim and Tamil parties with estate representation, and in the long run will strengthen such parties while rendering national parties powerless, the CaFFE chief charges.

Its unavoidable result will be unstable provincial administrations that deny majority power to a single party, especially in eastern and central PCs.

The statement adds that such authoritarian, anti-democratic amendments should not happen again.