Can Sri Lanka’s Elections Commission confirm NO DUAL CITIZENS have filed nominations?
Article 92(b) and Clause 20(4) of the 19a and Article 91(1)(d)(XIII) of the Constitution says persons who are dual citizens are DISQUALIFIED from being elected as MPs or the President. If this is so the onus is on the Election Commissioner to ensure no MP submits nominations withholding that they are dual citizens. Has there been any nominations submitted declaring the contestant as a dual citizen. If so, Election Commission has to reject his/her application. However, what is the election commissioner’s solution to those withholding that they are dual citizens and submitting nominations and Elections Commissioner even accepting nominations? How can elections commission allow this as it is breaching his task to ensure no dual citizen is elected to Parliament.
The reason to raise this question is that there are continuous allegations that the majority of TNA MPs are dual citizens but functioning in Parliament. How can this happen?
Key members of the TNA were architects of the inclusion of the ‘dual citizenship’ clause in the 19a primarily meant to prevent the ruling President from contesting elections.
If these MPs who went to such trouble plugging a clause denying anyone who was a dual citizen from contesting they have to also face the tune.
This means no MP sitting in Parliament can apply for dual citizenship so long as he/she is a Member of Parliament.
It also means that if anyone wants to keep their dual citizenship status then they have to forsake being a MP. In which case the TNA MPs who are dual citizens along with any others have to make a choice – be a MP or retail dual citizenship or give up Sri Lankan citizenship and go live in the other choice of country!
The citizens and voters have every right to know who in Parliament is a dual citizen.
This question didn’t arise earlier but with the insertion of 19a – we all want to ensure NO DUAL CITIZEN is in Parliament enjoying our tax payers money and also enjoying perks in a different country.
Everyone who boasts of upholding the Constitution must also come forward to support the need for transparency regarding declaration of dual citizenship.
How do we find out whether TNA MPs or any other MPs are dual citizens?
- The contestants have to personally declare so. The only person who did was Geetha Kumarasinghe and she lost her seat as a result of personal honesty.
- But who were the others who kept their dual citizenship status hidden? Obviously, the architects of the clause themselves – this is outright dishonesty. This is very unparliamentary of them.
- If there is a clause that states MPs cannot be dual citizens, then the President is well within his powers to ask each to declare that they are not dual citizens by affidavit. The PM can and should make the same demand.
- The Foreign Ministry can also request selected countries to confirm from their records if any of Sri Lanka’s MPs are dual citizens.
- The Immigration dept can also check up on their status
- Defense Ministry should also have details regarding this
If the President had to face a humiliating court case to prove his citizenship, then those hiding their dual citizenship should also face the same tune.
However, the onus is on the Election Commission and Election Commissioner to make this call. The question is why did he not do so?
The commission that talks about following rule of law & the Constitution is nicely ignoring that they are responsible for ensuring no dual citizen gets elected to Parliament.
Ironically, it appears an Election Commission member is also a dual citizen. Is this why the team are strategically avoiding the issue of dual citizenship.
If President & MPs who as dual citizens are barred from contesting elections, all public servants who are dual citizens should also be barred. Especially the holier than thou Independent Commission members.
Elections Commission & Elections Commissioner cannot make a mockery out of democracy and the Constitution by ignoring key clauses on dual citizenship which is related to electing MPs under their powers.
19a was inserted specifically targeting key individuals to prevent them contesting. It was a shallow endeavor by people who themselves are allegedly dual citizens.
It is now time to come clean.
Election Commissioner, we want to know if any contestant informed they were dual citizens in their nomination papers and if they didn’t and are hiding their dual citizenship status, what action you propose to take against them BEFORE the elections.
You have all the time and means to issue a letter asking nominees to reconfirm that they are not dual citizens and in the meanwhile you must reconfirm to the voters that everyone contesting elections are not dual citizens.
You cannot be silent and allow dual citizens to contest and not use your department’s authority to find out who and who is not a dual citizen.
By Constitution the Election Commission is bound to ensure no person who is a dual citizen gets elected to Parliament.
Many of these ‘dual citizens’ are attempting various juggernauts to upset the government as it grapples to deal with covid-19. The only way to deal with such trouble makers is to question and expose their dishonesty democratically, constitutionally & legally.
Shenali D Waduge