I am spurred by D .Weeratunga’s letter focusing on the mandate given to politicians by the people. He has quite forthrightly highlighted several home truths about our existing political administration system. It implies that politicians are no more an ‘honorary’ class by itself but a coterie of hired representatives or employees of the sovereign voter.
It is no secret that they are amply rewarded for discharging the mandate given to them. People have now taken it for granted that one should enter politics to make money. Gone are the days where honourable politicians dumped their own money and property to do politics and emerged as paupers!
Given this scenario, the voter or the taxpayer should enjoy the prerogative of laying down the eligibility criteria for the candidates they want to hire as their representatives as in the case of any other employer. The contesting political parties shall act as ‘man power’ agencies who should prepare ‘district wise merit lists of political professionals’ for nomination at elections. Such lists approved by the Elections Dept. on the nomination date will be available for their principals, who will make a general assessment of the quality of the teams in addition to the party election manifesto when they vote for the party of their choice.
Towards meeting this objective, we call upon the Elections Commission to deliver people’s expectations by laying down stringent eligibility criteria and selection procedure for the candidates applying for the posts of people’s representatives. The political parties would then be compelled to comply by the rule of law.
No doubt, all the legal impediments have to be removed by the concerned authorities to meet this long outstanding expectation of the voters. Looking for examples in other countries which operate in different political environments is an exercise in futility.
We are confident that all civil organisations including PAFFREL and CaFFE will work towards achieving this much-needed requirement for a mature democracy in Sri Lanka.