Let us put an end to the national list with the 20th Amendment, to make democracy meaningful
Posted on June 9th, 2015

DR Sudath Gunasekara  President Mahanuwara Senior Citizens Movement  9.6.2015.

The national list, ever since it was invented by our cunning politicians had been a big joke and a travesty of the concept of democratic representation. It had been a sneaky back door for socially undesirable and unacceptable elements who cannot garner even 100 votes at an election and utterly unsuitable even to sit inside this august assembly called Parliament. If you glance through the list of national list MPP at any time anyone can see this truism.

I think this idea of a national list should have come from the concept of appointed MPP that was there in the 1948 Constitution, which was perhaps introduced with good intentions to get in few eminent people in to the House.   However I don’t think those who thought of the concept of national list MPP had never looked at it from that angle. They first wanted only to increase their numbers in Parliament by this fraudulent method and second find a way to help men and women who matter in different ways for them. If you go through the list of national MPP from the inception, with the singular exception of Luxman Kadiragamar, you will see the point I am trying to make. When you see even the Prime Minister of the last Parliament was a national list man (rejected by his own seat) one can immagine how badly this concept had been abused to make their ends at the expense of the democratic ideals and the fundamental democratic rights of citizens to elect their representative.

These national list MPPs represent only the interests of the person who appoint them. They are also responsible to him and have no public accountability. They never represent the people. They only fill the gaps to provide the required number of votes in parliament of their benefactor.

Under the 1948 Constitution the appointed MPP were appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of the PM. While the Constitution provided a mechanism for the PM to select few eminent men and women to serve the country, it also helped the PM to enhance his public image in the country as a national leader. The present list on the other hand provides a dubious method not only for the leader of the Government to accommodate his men and women but also the leaders of all political parties to play this dirty game at the expense of democratic ideals to help their personal friends. Thus it has resulted in the erosion of democracy and the concept of good governance and transformed democracy to ‘a system of Government of the politicians, by the politicians and of the politicians and their families and friends”.

As the present President had declared that he stands for good governance, therefore he has an obligation to the people of this country to ensure that he stands by his word, to the very letter of his promis. Therefore I suggest that he keeps the 196 seats for elected MPP on the FPP and the balance 29 to accommodate those who are selected on a district basis under the PR system. That will make the next Parliament a body of true representatives of the people.

Therefore I strongly urge that all those who care for true democracy in this country oppose the proposal to have national list MPP under the 20th A as this is the best opportunity to get this baneful political cancer out, for the good of the country and for the good of the people.

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