Citizens Right to Reject to prevent corrupt entering Parliament
Posted on October 16th, 2021

Shenali D Waduge

Every citizen is in unison that since 1948 Sri Lanka’s progress has been stalled and denied because of corrupt politicians and their encouragement of a corrupt system that has attracted corrupt public officials, corrupt businessmen, corrupt cronies & even corrupt citizens. As a result, Sri Lanka has never enjoyed national policies that remain intact and planned for short-medium and long term purposes that do not get changed with every change of government. Unfortunately, the voters are left with electing the lesser evil because they have hardly any choice. This is not how democracy should work if sovereignty rests with the people. The first step for politicians to enter the system is at nomination stage where individuals hand over applications to respective parties to be selected by the Party nomination selection committee. It is therefore, proposed that the people be given a RIGHT TO REJECT provision to enable citizens to petition respective Party Secretariat to not accept the nomination(s) of a particular individual(s). The Party is then bound to not accept that person’s nomination application. This would clean out the corrupt and prevent them entering Parliament.

The Right to Reject is in other words the People’s mandate but will need to be carefully worked out.

Since we are all aware of likely future elections, planning to call for nominations can be planned well in advance.

The petition minimum requirement will need to be looked into based on district or smaller constituencies and a % depending on the population can be set.

Therefore, if X wishes to contest elections via a particular party, his name will need to be published by that party and the people of the district/constituency that he is contesting can petition to reject him & citizens will need to obtain the required % of petitions to force a political party not to include the name of that person to the final nomination list to contest elections.

The Right to Reject petition must give valid reasons why citizens do not wish to have him be included into the nomination list of their party. This petition will need to be carefully drafted with criteria for who can petition and the petitioners details as well.

In this manner, the people can slowly start to filter out the corrupt politicians from entering parliament.

Overseas there is a provision known as Right to Recall any politician AFTER they enter Parliament but not too many Ministers have been removed with this provision. Once the corrupt enter a Parliament and when they are the ones that make the legislation – if they are corrupt, how can we expect them to bring in laws to prevent their corrupt ways!Therefore, the best and only option is to think of ways that the people can democratically prevent the corrupt or people with corrupt records from entering Parliament. 

Perhaps the Elections Department can have a separate office for this facility to uphold the sovereignty of the People. Hopefully, the Right to Reject option will get international acceptance as well. The corrupt and corrupted system exists not only in Sri Lanka but all over the world as well. So we need to devise checks and balances to mitigate the damage.

Shenali D Waduge

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