Re-establishment of ICs derailed by 13-A debate - Ranil

by Zacki Jabbar

Now that elections to the Northern, Central and North-Western Provincial Councils had been tentatively fixed for the last week of September, the government should, as a matter of priority, re-establish all Independent Commissions, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Colombo yesterday.

Wickremesinghe told the media that instead of wasting time debating the proposed amendments to 13 – A, the independent Public Service, Elections, Police, Judicial and Bribery and Corruption Commissions, which had been scrapped with the abolition of the 17th Amendment, should be reintroduced immediately.

This was not the time to debate the pros and cons of 13-A. Let it not derail priority number one, which was to ensure that public servants are allowed to perform their duties without political interference, Wickremesinghe noted.

Sri Lanka was a signatory to the United Nations Conventions including Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Opposition Leader said, observing that it was imperative the public service be freed of the shackles imposed on it by the Executive Presidency.

The UNP leader noted that the Rajapaksa regime should not expect repeated reminders, since the reintroduction of 17-A was a pledge it had given to the United Nations, following several human rights violation resolutions that had been passed against it in recent years.

A government which claimed to be practising five star democracy, should not baulk at establishing independent bodies which were required to implement the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ which pledged good governance and transparency, the Opposition Leader said.

Wickremesinghe observed that the UNP’s new draft constitution had proposed that there would be all-party governance at every level, from the centre downwards.

Let the party that polled the second largest number of votes be given the post of Deputy Chief Minister and the Board of Ministers be constituted on the basis of the number of seats each party secured. Such a system could gradually be implemented in the other elected bodies as well, including Parliament, the Opposition Leader added.

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