Sri Lanka Electoral Reforms: Right to Reject NOT Right to Recall
Right to Reject is an alternative to the Right to Recall that is currently being proposed. Right to Reject happens prior to candidates entering Parliament while Right to Recall is a system after being selected as a MP. The reason to promote Right to Reject is primarily because once a person enters Parliament as a Minister or MP, in a corrupt system, it is impossible to implement Right to Recall as the Party & political supporters will back the person the people petition against. However, Right to Reject takes place at nomination stage, where candidates apply to contest from a particular political party in a district. Before the list is finalized, people of the district can petition to have a person from a particular party be removed from the list. This is people’s opinion being directly exerted upon the political party. A system to exercise this can be created to enable this.
Everyone is rightly annoyed and disappointed with their representatives. The pledges they give at elections is not what they end up doing once inside. This shows that we are choosing the wrong candidates to Parliament – but do we have a choice. The party is the one that decides who will contest in what district. We end up voting from the one’s the party has selected for us. This is warping the People’s franchise.
We are all in agreement that the caliber of politicians we currently have in Parliament if continued is a recipe for disaster. Sri Lanka has hit rock bottom. No party can boast that it presents a list of uncorrupt individuals to represent their party in Parliament. This is why manifestos has become a joke and national policies end up a pipedream.
This cannot continue.
This is not democracy
This is not sovereignty
Electing the lesser evil has got us nowhere.
When there is a strong system the corrupt automatically are dissuaded from desiring to enter it. Therefore, we need to create that system. A system cannot have exemptions – it must be applicable to all without favor.
The proposed Right to Reject works like this:
Each Party publishes its lists of candidates to contest for every district
The people of these districts can petition against the nomination of any candidate.
They can only petition against 1 person. This is to ensure the people also do not abuse the system.
Presume Party A has listed 30 candidates to contest in Colombo.
An x number of persons petition against several candidates. Valid reasons must be given.
(the persons must be of the district & meet criteria to petition – this is to be decided)
We will have to work out an agreeable % that is required for the party to eliminate the name of the candidate that the Party has included but the people do not wish to include.
If the Elections Commission can come up with a suitable system that is simple and practical, that has criteria for who is defined as a petitioner and criteria for a petition, this can be implemented for the next elections.
Perhaps the Elections Dept can have a separate office for this facility to uphold the sovereignty of the People. Hopefully this Right to Reject option will get international acceptance as well.
In this manner, the people can directly filter the corrupt & ensure they do not enter Parliament.
Currently, once nominations are finalized though people can object to court by filing FR, there is no proper system that has prevented anyone from contesting.
Shenali D Waduge