Sri Lanka does not need National List MPs
Posted on June 9th, 2015

Shenali D Waduge

If elections are held to enable eligible voters to vote for people as their choice to lead the country, there is no requirement to have another list of people entering Parliament from the backdoor. More often than not these backdoor national list entrants end up getting strategic and important portfolios and behave as if they have come with a mandate when they can’t find 100 people to vote for them!

The media has announced that the President-installed Government had deliberated that Parliamentary seats remain 225 out of which

  • 125 MPs are to be elected under the first past the post system
  • 75 MPs under district PR
  • 25 MPs under the National List

The current Parliament comprises 225 members 196 elected directly from 24 districts while 29 enter Parliament from the National List which is in other words from the back door.

The excuse used originally in promoting the national list MPs was to enable professionals, academics and eminent persons to enter Parliament. Over the years the national list has been hijacked into bringing people representing fundamentalist religious cults supporting foreign-backed agendas and gaining strategic portfolios in legislature and in the Cabinet.

Given that the expertise and advice of professionals and academics should be tapped it is best to co-op them into a case by case need basis drawing them to committee stages of decision making instead of making them MPs. Professionals and academics do not need to be turned into politicians.

When people enter Parliament as National List MPs they are not exercising the will of the people nor do they know the will of the people or even care. Thus, inclusion of 29 such people from the backdoor is an affront to the democratic rights of the voters.

Over the years the National List MPs have included dubious characters:

  • M Abraham Sumanthiran (TNA)
  • Eran Wickremaratne (UNP)
  • Rajiva Wijesinghe (UPFA)
  • Anura Kumara Dissanayake (JVP)
  • John Amaratunga (UNP)
  • G L Pieris (UPFA)
  • Tissa Attanayake (UNP)
  • Joseph Michael Perera (UNP)
  • Harsha de Silva (UNP)
  • Anoma Gamage (UNP)
  • Hasan Ali (UNP)
  • DEW Gunasekera (UPFA)
  • Tissa Vitharne (UPFA)
  • A H M Azwer (UPFA)
  • Malini Fonseka (UPFA)
  • Rajitha Senaratne
  • Sarath Amunugama
  • Even Mervyn Silva was one time a national list nominee

Coming from the backdoor these names have yielded power over the people without the people’s mandate and there are no checks and balances because they are not accountable to the public therefore they only wish to promote their personal ideologies and those that they are funded to promote!

If we are a nation upholding parliamentary democracy governance cannot betray the sovereign rights of the people and the people are the voters. The fundamental exercise of voting and electing leaders is breached in allowing people to creep in through the back door and handing them strategic portfolios as well.

Ideally the National List provision should be abolished in toto keeping only to election of MPs by the vote.

However, if selection of MPs by National List is to continue it must be assured that no strategic position at cabinet level be given to these MPs especially mono-ethnic political parties which are not representative of all the communities of Sri Lanka.

The National List is a travesty of the universal franchise of the voters of Sri Lanka. This is an undemocratic feature and should ideally be abolished.

Shenali D Waduge

10 Responses to “Sri Lanka does not need National List MPs”

  1. Independent Says:

    I agree NO ONE should come through Adho Mukha to parliament. Dr. Mervyn Silva in good enough for me to decide production of 1 such idiot is enough to sacrifice service of 10 good people.

  2. douglas Says:

    What a circus is this? “pas/post”; “proportional”; “preferential”; “national list” etc. etc. This is nothing but to confuse and drive away the intelligent understanding of the “Simple Simon” – the ordinary voter. What the people want is as simple as “Ape Manthri Thuma” (our MP) from “Ape Asane” (our seat). All the rest that came about were to accommodate “Vested Interests” of ethnic and religious groups. It is time to stop this nonsense.

    We must get back to give the people to “elect” their “Ape Manthri” ( our MP) from “Ape Asane” ( our seat). If any others to be accommodated, that too must be on a “elected” basis from a registered political party, in that, a second vote could be marked for the “Political Party” they prefer. In this case, it must be strictly laid down, to give a seat (from a list of names that individual party names at the time of nomination and published for the information of the voters) to a Political party and that party MUST obtain at least 2% of the total polled in the election. If not, NO SEAT in Parliament. I agree NO such “LIST MEMBER” be given a Ministerial position in the Governing party. THAT IS ALL and NOTHING MORE.

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Shenali !! The so called Nationalist MPs have no mandate from the People whatsoever, to even enter Parliament from the Back Door. They are Lackeys, Henchaiyas, pimps, Lady-in-waiting, Kade yana Kollas, under-wear washers, childhood friends, poor relations, friends of relations, YOU NAME THEM, Their category is listed. All of the aforesaid, are waitng to grab the Tax Payers Money, to make a COMFORTABLE LIVING. This system of Appointment as MPs through the back door into Parliament, best falls into the Category of ***NEPOTISM***. NONE OF THEM HAVE THE PEOPLES MANDATE TO SIT IN PARLIAMENT. Some have no Education, period.
    SO, why don’t people of the country protest ? why wont the Sangha and other religious sects protest, Why wont the Academics, and Professionals protest this illegal maneuver of “”PASSENGERS”” to warm the seats of Parliament, and have a FREE meal at the Parliament Canteen. This is truly a set of Beggars, conjured to be in Parliament in clean clothing.This is their entry permit.

    These are people who should not be entrusted with the Governance of the Country. They have no entitlement, whatsoever.
    THIS NATIONAL LIST INTAKE, SHOULD APPEAR AS **SCRAPPED** IN THE 20TH AMENDMENT.

    Patriotic Parliamentarians must ensure this. THIS SYSTEM IS TANTAMOUT TO FRAUD, BY THOSE HOLDING THE MANTLE OF POWER. THE PRIME MINISTER HAS ALREADY ENDORSED THIS. HE JUST SAID THAT NOBODY HOLDING POWER SHOULD MIS-USE POWER, WHICH IS FRAUDULENT, AND CAN BE JAILED.

    FOR ANY MP TO GET INTO PARLIAMENT, THEY SHOULD GET IN CONTESTED.

    EVERYBOD IN UNISON, SAY ***NO*** TO THE NATIONAL LIST ENTRANTS.

  4. Nimal Fernando Says:

    Circus, it is, Sir! … one in which the clowns outnumber the high-wire walkers, trick-riders
    and others with exceptional skills …

    They are never Of the People or By the People … rather, they are For a handful of cunning people …

    [Regrettably, even the very, very few exceptions, who make a sterling contribution, are lumped in this lot]

    So when will We the People of Sri Lanka, as articulated by Shenali D Waduge, come out overwhelmingly against it?

    More to the point, where are the civil society groups, trade unions, professional organisations and religious leaders providing the leadership to explain this, and more, to all those Simple Simons … the Simons who,
    in the final analysis, matter most in this democracy?

  5. charithsls Says:

    Shenali why is unpatriotic Ranil & UNP wants to stick with 225 but the patriotic Ranawaka & JHU insist on increasing numbers to 255 to get more national list MPs. Don’t we’ve to praise Ranil here??

  6. Dilrook Says:

    Mervyn Silva made it to parliament in 2000, 2001 and 2004 through the national list. National list mostly brings anti-people and anti-national elements as they are not seeking voters’ approval. National List is undemocratic and must be removed. However, with UNP, JVP and parts of SLFP not supporting 20A, no election reforms will take place. Some national list MPs like Kadirgamar would have won a seat had he contested in 1994, 2000 or 2004.

  7. douglas Says:

    Dear Nimal: You said much more than what I said. Those “Civil Society Groups” are another classy “Circus” produced in this country. If they did what was expected of them, those “Simple Simons” would have done exceptionally well in electing their nominees. In short, NO SIMPLE SIMON would have been “BOUGHT” over by any of these “vagabonds” who venture into the Legislature to become “FAT” in all respects.

    Thank you.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    The National List, Proportional Representation, Preferential Votes etc are all there to represent and keep happy the “Yakko crowd” and the portions of society that are usually downtrodden or must be kept happy or else trouble happens. Also to represent those people who would never be chosen by the People through the voting system. This is done to keep those sectors quiet whilst those in power are free to be Commission Agents, pocket stuffers etc. In fact, this enables all sectors of society to participate in the money collections ?
    Anyway, it seems to be for mutual benefit of all politicians ?

    Since Commissions for projects are a universal phenomenon (usually 10% set aside in project accounting for that very purpose), who are we to complain if everyone is happy ?

    Political systems are NEVER perfect anywhere in the world, are they ? !!

    I am trying to be a realist in the political game. I hope I haven’t ruffled too many feathers here.

  9. SA Kumar Says:

    national list MPs like Kadirgamar would have won a seat had he contested in 1994, 2000 or 2004.- No He only can come from National list .

    Voters have different mentality & rulers have different .

    like We-Tamils vote to TNA as always even though We know for another 1,000 years they won’t get TE but We always believe them they will get TE Tomorrow not Today ( Nalai pirakkum TE)

  10. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SA K !! DREAMER. Grrrrr.

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