A discussion between PAFFREL and the JVP

The second in a series of discussions being held by PAFFREL with political parties was held today (10) with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The discussion was focused more on the electoral system. A copy of the book compiled by PAFFREL on the path it has followed in formulating the proposal for reforming the electoral system in Sri Lanka which has already been submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee was presented to the JVP on this occasion.

Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi, the Executive Director of PAFFREL Commenting on this occasion, pointed out that all parties should have a fair representation in formulating a new electoral system. Mr. Hettiarachchi also pointed out that there should be a broader social dialogue on election campaign expenses by candidates and the political parties and the need for having an effective mechanism on declaration of assets and liabilities.

Mr. Hettiarachchi also spoke about the “Way to Change" program launched by PAFFREL to strengthen women’s representation in politics. He also highlighted the importance of developing youth representation. The two sides also discussed the recent judgment given by the Monaragala High Court in regard to an election petition canceling the election of a Councilor.

At this stage Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP joined the discussion and pointed out that the will of the people should be fairly represented in the formulation of a new electoral system. He further stated that he had submitted the proposals of the JVP to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral System Reform stressing and highlighting the principles that should be taken into strict consideration in formulating an electoral system.

Mr. Silva also stated that although his party has a criticism of its own about the Provincial Council System, the Provincial Council elections should be held in accordance with the constitution and that special attention should be paid to the people who have been rendered helpless in the face of Covid pandemic and prevailing economic hardships. He also pointed out that there is a suspicion that the government is likely to   postpone the local government elections.

Speaking further, Mr. Tilvin Silva suggested that PAFFREL should initiate a dialogue among the people regarding the priorities that should be taken into consideration in exercising their right to vote. Mr. Tilvin Silva pointed out that PAFFREL has the capacity to do that and such a dialogue would be of great help to promote democracy in the country. He further stated that most of the citizens have fallen victims of the current corrupt political culture.

Mr. Tilvin Silva further said that politics should be transformed from being a business into an honorable public service and the transformation could be initiated by depriving the politicians of all undue privileges including pensions and entitlement to duty free vehicle licenses.

Messes Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director, K.N.  Dean, Deputy Chairman, Sujeewa Gayanath, National Coordinator joined this discussion representing PAFFREL while  Tilvin Silva , General Secretary of the  JVP and Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala represented the JVP.

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