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Chandra J writes to Speaker on dealing with dual citizens in Parliament

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12 November 2017

An Open Letter to the Speaker of Parliament

Do good governance commitments and ethical Parliamentary administration benchmarks compel you to take further action on the recent Supreme Court determination?

You Sir, as the Speaker of Parliament, have duly actioned the determination made by the Supreme Court on 2 November 2017, where it upheld the ruling delivered by the Appeal Court, that UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe cannot hold a seat in Parliament due to her dual citizenship.

Irrespective of applicable legal provisions, provisions of the Parliamentary Standing Orders and precedents and Parliamentary practices, is it now, not incumbent upon you, as the Speaker of Parliament, to formally assess whether there are any other sitting members of Parliament with similar disqualifications in continuing as members of Parliament, due to them being dual citizens.

As a leading member of a group of elected legislators committed to good governance and as the head of administration of a Parliament with a commitment to uphold ethical Parliamentary administration benchmarks, do you not accept that it is incumbent upon you, to take further pro-active steps to determine, whether there are any other members with similar disqualifications to hold Parliamentary seats due to dual citizenship?

In pursuit of such a commitment should you not seek from all 225 members of Parliament, individually-signed sworn affidavits confirming that they do not hold dual citizenships and thus not debarred or disqualified from holding the seat in Parliament in line with the recent Supreme Court determination? 

Following such an assessment, should you not in keeping with commitments to effective transparency, keep the Parliament and the Elections Commission duly advised of the outcomes of your assessment?

If there are any such members of Parliament with declared likely disqualifications or disabilities in holding a seat in Parliament, is it not incumbent upon you, to petition the relevant Court of Law for a final determination and directions to you for necessary consequential action?

With the society at large and citizens committed to assuring good governance having utmost confidence in you, as person with a firm commitment to transparency and good governance, it is a fervent hope that you will take due steps in consideration of the above submission.

Yours sincerely,

Chandra Jayaratne

cc. The President,

       The Prime Minister,

       The Leader of the House

       The Leader of the Opposition

       The Chairman, Elections Commission

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