Electoral system corrupt, unfair - EC Chairman | Daily News

Electoral system corrupt, unfair - EC Chairman

Cannot monitor, regulate expenditure of candidates:

Sri Lanka’s electoral system is highly corrupt, Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa said.

 He stated that the Election Commission has no power to prevent corrupt persons from being appointed as candidates in nomination lists in an election.

The Chairman made these remarks while making a speech at the celebration of the International Day of Democracy yesterday in Colombo.The international celebration was held under the theme “Democracy Under Strain - Solutions for a changing world”.

Punchihewa noted that the present election system of the country is highly corrupt and unfair when concerning the practical aspect of elections.

“It is sad that the Election Commission has lost its ability to prevent corrupt people from becoming candidates in an election,” he added.

He also said that candidates spend a huge amount of money in an election for their victory. He pointed out that the money is being spent through the help and assistance received by various people and they in turn work for those who have helped them with contracts.The Chairman is of the opinion that instead of working for the people, politicians are working for those who voted for them.

The Chairman said the Elections Commission has no ability to monitor or regulate the expenditure of candidates during an election and that is a major shortcoming.

The Chairman also said that a fair representation of the people in an election is not expressed through nomination lists. He pointed out that there is not enough space for youth or women’s representation in the nominations.

Separately, there is no criterion as to how the representation of women or youth should be in a General election.

In addition, he said that around 500,000 will not get a chance to cast their vote in an election. He emphasized that everyone should have a fair chance to cast their vote in an election. Also, since health, fisheries, the media, free trade zones and other sectors are treated as a sector, they have no chance to vote by mail. Also, a large number working abroad do not have the opportunity to cast their vote at an election.The Chairman is of the opinion that focusing on such issues implies corruption in Sri Lanka’s elections.

However, the Commission has focused on eliminating corruptions in an election. Arrangements are being made to introduce the Expenditure Control Act into the electoral system.It has been proposed to introduce an advance voting system for people in education fields who are unable to vote on election day. Also steps will be taken to introduce formal and systematic media sub-measures for social media as well as all mass media regulation. It has also been proposed to introduce and regulate a code of conduct to prevent corrupt and unfit candidates from standing in elections. Accordingly, if a candidate engages in corrupt or corrupt practices after being elected, his membership will be revoked. Measures will also be taken to increase the representation of women and youth.Attention has also been paid to providing equal campaign opportunity to all in an election. The chairman also said that the Commission requests that the violation of election ethics be considered as an election offence.

He said that arrangements will be made to amend the Elections Act for such measures. He is of the opinion that a better electoral system is expected to be introduced in place of the corrupt electoral system through such measures.

The chairman said that there is reasonable doubt whether there is internal democracy in political parties.He said that the parties advocating for democracy have failed to protect their internal democracy. He pointed out that one cannot act on the opinion of the party leader. Thus, the parties advocating for democracy pointed out that protecting internal democracy is an essential factor.

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