by Karu Jayasuriya MP
We wish to reiterate to the government to at least conduct the proposed provincial council elections according to the guidelines of the Commissioner of Elections and in a free and fair manner, if the government is not scared of the reflection of true public opinion.
As already reported in the media the government has given appointments in the public service after the dissolution of Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North central Provincial Councils.
A good example is the appointments given to 1395 graduate trainees and 200 Disaster Management Assistants in Batticaloa. Apart from the above the recruitment process has already been started in the hospitals and state banks. 78 minor employee appointments and 70 transfers have been effected in Kegalle and Ratnapura districts, after dissolving the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council.
In this instance the government has completely disregarded the recommendations of the Commissioner of Elections. It is distressing to note that the government is shamelessly adopting the same course of action which they followed during the past elections.
Under a regime which took action to create an Executive Presidency with unlimited powers, revolving around one individual, by introducing the 18th Amendment, the commissioner of elections and the Inspector General of Police are forced to turn a blind eye on the erratic journey of the government, although they are honest and efficient persons. According to a statement given to a weekend paper, the Commissioner of Elections has stated that he is rendered helpless regarding recruitment to the public service in areas where Provincial Councils have been dissolved. The only possible action is to forward it to the attention of the Public Service Commission. Powers of the Commissioner of Elections exercised under the 17th Amendment have been curtailed by the introduction of the 18th Amendment.
If the government is keen to show the world the true picture of the public opinion, they must refrain from using state resources, vehicles, helicopters and official buildings of the government, including the President’s House.
For this reason we urge the government before hand to conduct elections without organizing state functions in the areas where elections are held, not to use state media as a trumpet for the government, to establish Elections Commission, Police Commission according to the 17th Amendment and to save the police from the grip of the politicians. Yet the government follows the same old track. It is a misconception if the government conceives that there is no resistance amongst some members of the government regarding the situation.
Therefore, the government must create an environment to enable the Commissioner of Elections and the Inspector General of Police, who have won the recognition as honest and efficient officers, to perform their duties without any political interference.
During the Provincial Council elections the government must allow the public officers and police officers to act in a manner where they can safeguard the esteem of their profession, otherwise this Provincial Council election too would not be an election held on a fair ground which will reflect the genuine public opinion.
I wish to remind my colleagues of the opposition that we should shed all political differences and make this a starting point to win free and fair election on behalf of the masses. It is our inalienable duty to protect the rights of the masses.
(Text of Press Release issued by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, M.P. of the United National Party, on the Provincial Council Elections – 10th July 2012)