A serious look at hijacking democracy in this country by appointing defeated and rejected candidates at elections to Parliament via the National List and making them even Cabinet Ministers
Posted on August 25th, 2015

 Sudath Gunasekara 21.8.2015

To me the so-called National list concept is a big fraud. In this country it appears to be a combination of the Machiavellian and Kautilyan strategies in state craft with a pinch of salt from JRJ’S political cunningness and acumen. So one can just imagine what kind of vicious political invention it would be. This Sri Lankan invention is the most undemocratic mechanism designed by any to subvert and rob the people’s mandate and install the dictatorship of the politician. It goes even further to the extent of a total negation of the people’s sovereignty which is said to be inalienable at the beginning of the Constitution in article 3.

Looking at the development of this idea in this country, the 1987 Constitution provided for 196 seats in Parliament. In 1988, by the 14 A (24th May 1988) it was increased to 225 as stated in article 99a. But I could not find the words ‘national list members’ under any article or section therein other than in the heading appearing before the Short title of 14th A given below.

(‘The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka extended the immunity of the President, increased the number of MPs to 225, provided a 1/8 (12.5%) cut-off for parliamentary representation, and dealt with Delimitation Commission, referendums and national list members. The amendment came into effect on 24 May 1988’.)

Again within 6 months on 17 Dec 1988, 99a of 14th A was repealed by the 15th Amendment and a new mechanism was introduced. Provision for defeated members to be appointed is included in the latter part of para 3 article 8A under the 14th A, most probably on second thought, to take in men rejected by the people but indispensable for the leadership, for various shady reasons. The fact that none in Parliament appears to have objected this underhand provision clearly shows that all the politicians harp on the same common denominator, that is their own survival and self interest rather than the interest of the people. The hurry with which this amendment was passed and the confusion associated further proves their hidden intention behind this provision. That is why I call this provision one of the most undemocratic, unethical and uncivilized constitutional provisions invented by any Parliament anywhere in the world that has humiliated the voter and robbed his fundamental democratic right to elect a desirable and reject an undesirable politician. If you carefully go through the list of people who have been nominated under this provision from the inception you will see what I am trying to say here.  I don’t think you need further proof than the UPFA list just submitted to testify this argument.

The rising public protest and outcry on this issue spearheaded by prominent members of the Mahasangha such as Maduluwave Sobitha Thera clearly shows public disapproval of this mala fide decision taken by the President

‘Rejects are rejects” this is how the Island Editor calls defeated candidates proposed to be appointed to Parliament via the National list in his forthright Editorial of 21st Aug 2015. Not only I, but all sensible people in this country fully agree with you Prabath. Well said and well done. Your editorial is revealing and it should be read by everybody in this country. I suggest you get the Sinhala Divaina to publish it in Sinhala without fail because they are the people who should get this message, although the President and JVP appear to think otherwise. JVP has appointed  Handunhetti and the President Sirisena appointed S.B. Dissanayaka, Vijitamuni Soysa and five others from among defeated candidates to the so-called National list, which I would call an anti-national list out right. Though the 14th A to the Constitution under Sec 8, rather deceptively and undemocratically has made provision for defeated candidates to be appointed to Parliament via the national list, I don’t think one need to continue with this mala fide invention. Though our politicians have numerous ways of humiliating the voters I would say this is the most heinous and treacherous among them. It is undemocratic, unethical, deceptive, dishonest, hypocritical and shameless and it also shatters the very foundation of representative democracy.

The National List (NL) mechanism was originally introduced in 1988 that provided for 29 places out of 225 in Parliament as said before. No qualifications for the national list members have been laid down in the Constitution, although provision for defeated candidates has been introduced under Sec 8 of the14th A, perhaps on second thought. The architects of the Constitution may have left it open and flexible to enable them to name legitimately anyone whom they want. This lack of clarity and flexibility alone shows the hidden agenda they had in mind when they added this provision. The so-called national list is submitted at the time of handing over nominations. Usually it is meant for people with brains and distinguished track records who do not like to enter the fray but whose contribution is very valuable for good governance. Their public image and stature is used as a bait to catch voters. If any party drops those already listed and appoint new people or defeated men and women on second thought for political expedisncy, in the first place, it betrays and rejects the voter who cast his /her vote on the presumption that at least few men of character and education in the said list will be there in Parliament. Secondly definitely representative democracy becomes a big joke with such intruders and rejects being introduced subsequently. Appointing defeated people makes it still worse. Because it tantamount to a total disregard of the people’s vote and their will. No civilized society should allow politicians to murder democracy in broad day light in this manner to fulfill their sinister wants.

As the Island Editor further says those who vote for a particular political party at parliamentary polls, endorse its NL. Therefore, using the mechanism to appoint candidates rejected by the voters as MPP on second thought is tantamount to a distortion of the will of the electorate”.

Meanwhile I also fully endorse the Editors comment that ‘the UNP’s decision against appointing political rejects to Parliament via the NL is to be highly commended”.

‘Appointment of some of the defeated UPFA candidates in the good books of President Maithripala Sirisena to Parliament through the NL’, as he further says is also deplorable and undemocratic. This is neither democracy no maîtree or yahapalanaya in practice by any standards.

Polls monitors also have condemned the appointment of defeated candidates. ‘A candidate fails to get elected at a general election because voters do not consider him or her fit enough to enter Parliament’.  So under what democratic principle or ethical or moral criterion such people are appointed to Parliament making use of a dirty loophole in the Constitution.

As the Island editorial has correctly pointed out there is no difference between admitting a student who fails to obtain enough marks at the GCE A/L to a national university and appointing to the national legislature via the NL a candidate who loses an election. Therefore, no one who claims to be a proponent of good governance can endorse the appointment of political rejects to Parliament through the backdoor’.

This type of political chess game in Sri Lanka is no surprise to Sri Lankan people because they know very well the Constitution itself is not designed to safeguard the interests of the people. In other words it is not a people’s constitutions. It is a politicians Constitution drafted behind doors by the politicians for the benefit of politicians.   If you peruse through it carefully you will see how craftily they have masterminded it to safeguard their interests so that they can make use of it to run a Government by the politicians for the politicians and of the politicians”.  It is designed to safeguard the rights of politicians at every point. This applies to the number of MPP as well as all other aspects such as the election process and enormous privileges granted to politicians like a fat pension within five years. This is why I always argue for a new constitution that safeguards the interests of the people as the first priority. Nevertheless unlike in previous times people should demand that their views are also entertained and embodied in the final document.

First this concept originated as appointed MPP. For example 1948 constitution provided for 6 appointed MPP to provide for the appointment of ‘persons who have rendered distinguished public service or are persons of eminence in professional, commercial, industrial or agricultural life including education, law, medicine science, engineering and banking’. It provided an avenue for eminent persons to enter Parliament without contesting elections which they detest’. But, today sadly, it is used by political parties to appoint any crook or even defeated candidates to the national legislature. At present the list is used only to select the favourites of the political party leadership who can never get in to Parliament through elections. These MPP are mainly used to increase the voting strength and not for any worthy contribution they make. You will see this clearly if you go through the past lists of national list MPP in our Parliament.

The most dangerous part of this process is that they don’t represent the people. They represent only the person who has appointed them and his interests. It follows then that they are answerable and obliged only to the party leadership who appoint them. Rejects are rejects as the Editor says and therefore such people should never be accommodated in the National list. Such accommodations will tantamount to nullification of the people’s democratic right to elect a person they prefer. Such action leads to a complete erosion of the people’s right to franchise and democracy become a joke. Therefore everybody who value democratic principle should vehemently oppose this move. I wonder as to how the Commissioner of Elections declare such people as elected under sec 8 of the 14th A when they have been rejected  and are only actually selected by the Leader of the party. I am surprised as to how one can call this representative democracy.

In my opinion not only defeated persons at elections should not be nominated to Parliament but they also should never be appointed to any other public post at Home or abroad. I reiterate this point as there is a habit of such defeated people being appointed as Ambassadors and Chairmen of corporations etc.

I wish eminent civil society leaders like Rev Maduluwave Sobitha Thera will take up this matter seriously as a national priority and try to convince the political hierarchy not to nominate any political reject to the national list. Secondly to do away with this national list concept that has become an instrument of political expediency rather than a mechanism of public necessity.

Mr President People in this country have voted you on Jan 8 to restore good Governance. Appointing a bunch of sycophants, who have been rejected by the people to Parliament and dropping people like GLP, Dew, Vitarana and Rajiev, from the list, jut to hurt MR  or to take revenge from those who supported him is neither good governance no maîtree Governance either.

19 Responses to “A serious look at hijacking democracy in this country by appointing defeated and rejected candidates at elections to Parliament via the National List and making them even Cabinet Ministers”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Dropping the distinguished people already proposed in the list during the election and replacing it with president own choice of defeated candidates, is a clear indication of Sirisena’s deceitful and devious character.

    Now the 99% SLFP voters are aware of Chandrika-Sirisena conniving plan and only consolation is Ranil’s assurance to introduce a good governance.

    If SLFP move out from UPFA, then if UNP goes for general election after two years, SLFP will be pushed it way down to 4th place even after JVP.

    True SLFPers should hibernate until Sirisena’s period of presidency is over and when he will never be re-elected against a UNP candidate, and then it will be the right time for SLFP to revive their previous glory. Till then SLPFers should take couple of steps back as Gotabaya says.

  2. SenaD Says:

    NeelaMahaYoda Says:
    August 23rd, 2015 at 2:36 am

    “Dropping the distinguished people already proposed in the list during the election and replacing it with president own choice of defeated candidates, is a clear indication of Sirisena’s deceitful and devious character.”

    This is only further proof of his character that was apparent from the very beginning of his campaign. That ‘character’ must have been one strong point in his being selected as the common candidate!

    “True SLFPers should hibernate until Sirisena’s period of presidency is over and when he will never be re-elected against a UNP candidate, and then it will be the right time for SLFP to revive their previous glory. Till then SLPFers should take couple of steps back as Gotabaya says.”

    Perhaps that is already the plan of the ‘non-MS’ SLFP.

    The president has put his signature to decrees that are anything but ‘yahapalanaya’ and the silence on the part of the Buddhist monks who clamoured to bring the current set up is deaffening just as was in the case of the central bank scam.

    In contrast the UNP has let only one failed candidate to creep into the parliament.

    Problems will arise as they always do when the new crew begin steering the ship and the the way they will try to manage the economy is likely to cause fissures between the SLFP and the UNP.

    The IMF and the WB will want the govt. to open up the markets and privatise the state enterprises as they always do, the so called structural changes, as the basis for their offering of assistance.

  3. Christie Says:

    Indian Empire decides.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    THEY ARE NOT BUDDHIST MONKS. They are a set of inhuman beings, in Yellow cloth. What is so Buddhistic about them ? They talk like AKD at meetings, typical under-world outlook. They will never ever help, because it is they who brought about this situation, singing hosannas for a back-stabber. Sri Lanka is doomed. Damn those sinhalayas with mustard brains. Good for them.

  5. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Taken form your article, 8th or so paragraph “The most dangerous part of this process (National List) that they don’t represent people. They only represent the person who has appointed them and his interest”. Parliamentary system creates this situation. This why the constitution should be brought back and gradually change it to reflect the changes that is necessary to the present time. MR’s secretariat was filled with anti MR sabotaging people. In 2007 this was perfected by the Election Commissioner, the JVP killer. Janatha Liyanaghe’s EKAMUTU NGO handed out leaflets supporting Champicka Ranawake. This is how he got a large majority and he thanked Jantha Liyanage. Yet EKAMUTHU said they supported MR and collected money from MR supporters. Getting rid of RANIL PUNK will not be easy. If you don’t get rid of him before the end of this year. He with US ambassador will create a constitution that no one will be able to change through Parliamentary system. He openly said that he was trained in California for three months to perfect this change. He will make the Parliament meet only two times a year! THEN WHAT? People must wake up and get MR out of this lethargic state.

  6. SenaD Says:

    Susantha Wijesinghe Says:
    August 23rd, 2015 at 7:46 am

    “THEY ARE NOT BUDDHIST MONKS.”

    I agree. I meant to say “Buddhist monks(?)” because I too consider them only as individuals wearing Buddhist monks’ robes and use the title title “Thero” only as a respect for the “robe”.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Get the Yahap folk to do the work for the Sinhala people.

    1. Resettlement of the Sinhala & Muslim folk in the N&E. The Yahap govt is already getting ready to settle Tamils in Sampur. What about the 25,000 Sinhala people chased out of the East ? We want JUSTICE FOR THE SINHALA PEOPLE !

    2. Remove the 13-A.

    Don’t wait for MR yet. At least do part of the work through PEOPLE POWER from the Sinhala quarter. Use Grass Roots Movements. It is not MR who is lethargic, it is the Sinhala masses ! They are not good at logically thought out, ORGANISED and sustained action, it seems. Riots are useless – people get killed for nothing and Tamils gain their separate state too, and attention from HR organisations abroad with rights to go as Refugees, as done after stupid 1983 Riots.

  8. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    FRAN !! 27,000 Sinhalese People chased out of the NORTH, not East.

    Not one damn SINHALESE politician will ever attempt to re-habilitate the Sinhalese back in the North. Mahinda cared Two “Fs”. Bithaya and Rat Nayaa also care TEN “”Fs”” WHY ?? BECAUSE ALL THESE BUGGERS CALLED POLITICIANS ARE “”F”” SCARED OF THE TNA AND THE TAMIL LOBBY. They will only safeguard their personal ambitions, like getting their Pay Check, and collecting all other Perks, includind the daily FREE LUNCH.

  9. Cerberus Says:

    Susantha,

    You are right ! The Sinhala folk were chased out from the North and some from the East too, but far fewer in number.

    I knew that many Sinhala bakers and other workers were chased out of the North when the LTTE took over. However, I cannot find any articles on that subject in Google. All I could find was that many Muslims were chased out of Jaffna ! Also, that the Army of Lanka are colonising the North with Sinhala settlers ! This is how media are manipulated. This is how the Sinhala people have got a bad name abroad as foreigners look up Google for information – they do not contact the Sri Lanka Embassy to find out information about what went on in Sri Lanka. In addition, there are many articles how bad the conditions are for suffering Tamil tea pluckers.

    If you find any articles on the subject of the Sinhala folk being chased out of N&E, please do put them into Lankaweb.

    These are the issues the new Yahap govt ought to tackle. The PEOPLE have to bring out the issues and press for JUSTICE, don’t you think ?

    Thank you.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Susantha & Cerberus,

    I found just one article on the subject. If you Google with the word “displaced” you may get some information on the topic.

    Here is one from the Sunday Observer, Oct 10, 2010. But this must just one section of people chased out of Jaffna.

    Crisis brews over 183 Sinhala families seeking state land in Jaffna

    By Marisa de Silva
    Some 183 Sinhala families who claim they lived in the Jaffna Peninsula before 1983 want the authorities to resettle them in their former homesteads. However, Jaffna District Secretary Emelda Sukumar said yesterday these families did not have documents to prove land ownership. Hence, she was taking up the matter with the Presidential Secretariat while the families comprising about 500 people are staying in the Jaffna railway station area.

    A Sinhala family staying at the Jaffna railway station premises
    Ms Sukumar said that she had not been informed about these displaced families coming back to Jaffna and thus it had caused food, security and sanitation problems. “I will act according to the instructions of the Presidential Secretariat,” she said.

    Meanwhile Police and Army personnel are providing security for these families including children who have been living around the railway station since Monday.

    Anyone wishing to visit these families has been ordered by the police to enter their name in a log book. Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said yesterday that he had sought full details from the District Secretariat and directed that measures be taken for the welfare of these families.

    However, another EPDP member M. Chandrakumar, who is also the Deputy Chairman of Committees in parliament, said he believed these families had come to Jaffna with the backing of an “organised group’ to claim state land.

    “There is no problem if people come and claim their own land, but there is a problem if they come and demand state land in places where no such land is available,” he said. Families who were describing themselves as members of the Sinhala Returnees Committee spoke to the Sunday Times.

    This committee’s secretary Lalith P. Wickramasinghe said: “A few of us who now live in Mihintale, decided to return to our birthplace, Jaffna, on September 13 to meet the authorities regarding our claims to be resettled in Jaffna. Having met Minister Devananda and Jaffna’s District Secretary, we handed over a petition explaining our case to them.

    “We also went to meet Northern Province Governor G.A. Chandrasiri, but he was out and we left the petition at his office and returned to Mihintale. Not having heard from the authorities by October 4, we decided to mobilize the 183 families we had maintained ties with over the years, and return to Jaffna to have our case heard. Everyone came on their own, either by bus, three-wheelers, personal vehicles and even by motorbikes and gathered at the railway station.

    “Even though we have now built houses and have been living in the South for nearly three decades, we want to return to the place where we were born and start afresh.”

  11. Cerberus Says:

    There must be a large grass roots level movement to remove the people who have lost the election from being appointed as National List members by the President. Where is Rev. Sobitha, Anura Kumara D who were so vocal about imaginary faults of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

    Here in broad day light I think President My3 has hijacked the Sri Lanka consitutution and the SLFP/UPFA constituations by first expelling the UPFA/SLFP General Secreatries. He then sacked 13 people from the CC during the election perod and brought in his own people in to it. He did all this to confuse the UPFA voters. Net result was that 517,123 or 4.42 percent of the votes cast were rejected. In addition, 3.3 million voters of the registered 15 million did not cast their votes. Thereby a total of 3.8 million voters or 25 percent of the voters were not involved in electing members to the next Parliament. I believe one reason for this was President my3’s actions on the eve of the elections. These actions must be challenged in court.

    See: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150823/news/517123-votes-rejected-3-3-m-no-show-161705.html

    He seems to have taken the law into his own hands. Why is the parliament and the Rev. Sobitha and others quiet about all these malpractices?What about the JVP and the UPFA parliamentarians?

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Good idea to HIBERNATE until this govt. collapses.

    But by then MOST promising people in the OPPOSITION will be either dead, killed or in jail. Welcome to the world of YAAPA(LA)NAYA.

    TNA has BEGGED Maru Sira to continue for another term!!!

    Guardian gods of SL must rise up to the occasion.

    Doesn’t Sunil Ratnayake has any friends to avenge the great INJUSTICE done to him?

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    Fran,

    Why should the UNP govt. resettle Singhalese and remove 13 amendment?

    Their voters don’t want that.

    ONLY MR voters demand to resettle Singhalese and remove 13 amendment.

  14. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    FRAN !!! YOR SOURCE DOES NOT DISCLOSE THE REAL SATUS OF THE SINHALESE. THESE ARE TYPICAL ISOLATED INCIDENTS, THAT YOU ARE REFLECTING. YOU SEEMED TO BE INADEQUATELY INFORMED. THEN WHY DID NOT YOUR SOURCE, REFLECT THE **100,000 MUSLIMS WHO WERE ETHNICALLY CLEANSED FROM JAFFNA AND ASKED TO LEAVE WITHIN 48 HOURS, PLUNDERING ALL THEIR WEALTH, PERSONAL BELONGINGS, THEIR GOLD, AND MOST OF ALL THEIR LAND. SAME THING HAPPENED TO THE SINHALESE. 27,000 SINHALESE WERE ETHNICALLY CLEANSED AND ASKED TO LEAVE. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, PLEASE CHECK WITH ASOKA WEERASINGHE, WHO WRITES TO THIS FORUM.

    DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY SINHALESE WERE HACKED TO DEATH IN THE NORTH, FROM THE VILLAGES, WHILE THEY WERE ASLEEP ? CAN YOU REMEMBER THE PADAVIYA INCIDENT. THE TAMIL WOMEN MOSTLY, CAME IN THE NIGHT AND HACKED THE WHOLE VILLAGE, INCLUDING MEN WOMEN CHILDREN, AND PREGNANT MOTHERS. I HAVE BEEN TO PADAVIYA VILLAGE, AND THEY ARE VERY PEACE LOVING, KIND VILLAGERS. I HAVE VISITED THE PLACE VERY OFTEN, OFTEN WHILE ON MY WAY TO THE MINERAL SANDS CORPORATION, PULMODDAI.

    I HAD LEASED OUT 100 ACRES OF LAND FROM THE VAVUNIYA KACHCHERI, IN BETWEEN, ON THE CHEDDIKULAM, MEDAVACHCHIYA MANNAR ROAD AND POORVASANAKULAM ON THE MEDAVACHCHIYAYA JAFFNA ROAD. THEY WERE ALL SINHALESE VILLAGERS LIVING IN THAT STRETCH. THEY WERE ALL KILLED BY THE TAMILS. SO, I LEARNED FROM A POLICE OFFICER OF THE MEDAWACHCHIYA POLICE.

    I RE-ITERATE, THAT YOU HAVE FISHED OUT SOME ISOLATED INCIDENTS FROM GOOGLE.

    YOU HAVE USED THE WORD** DISPLACED.** TRY GOOGLING, SINHALESE AND MUSLIMS ETHNICALLY CLEANSED FROM JAFFNA, AND TELL US YOUR RESULT. PLEASE DONT MIS-LEAD THE PUBLIC, WITH YOU IGNORANCE.

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    SW is right. MOST were ETHNICALLY CLEANSED. Not displaced.

    But some are displaced. They live outside the north and east like in Puttlam.

    They MUST be resettled.

  16. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    LORENZO !!! Appreciate your knowledge on this subject. What you say is absolutely correct.

    Fran !! Please Google :- Sri Lanka: questions from the killing fields—2nd March 2013. Please enlighten yourself.

  17. SA Kumar Says:

    Susantha Wijesinghe
    pass is passed , Now We have united Mother Lanka for every one of us

    Live & let’s live until Eelam war V
    ( since 1956 to 2009 after loosing thousand of our love one live, will We-Tamils settle in United country ? that is different matter)

  18. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    What was Champicka Ranawake doing at that time he did not want to know. Old Lanka Web had the answer in my article.

  19. NAK Says:

    Sirisena has no right make a single appointment on the UPFA national list as had done nothing to win any of those seats but rather he did everything possible to dereat the UPFA. He, like the presidency,hijacked the national list.

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