Let’s have a simple local government election system so that at least all the electors understand it PLEASE, as it is crazy to force a system no one really comprehends.
The essence of Democracy is true “people’s representation in how their affairs are managed for the greater public good.” Being simple must be part of it too.
This is especially so, where people in a local area, wish to have a say and then determine how their local affairs are run and managed. The proposed system that has passed in parliament, is anything BUT!
If no one understands the Act that has been passed, it is a direct indictment against all in parliament. The system is flawed and we must all resist its implementation at ALL COSTS.
That is because we have VESTED political interests who don’t wish to see people’s representation because their very permanent existence and justification for their continuance is THREATENED. Put simply they don’t want new comers, and fresh faces with new ideas to upset their established modus operandi, that has NOT resulted in any positive change for the better.
The simple truth is that ALL political parties have determined that individuals who are community leaders CANNOT seek election as independents in the areas they live. They are people of stature and integrity. Why shouldn’t these individuals who along with the majority of the people of this Country have forsaken political parties, be allowed to contest on their own, even if it means a high forfeitable deposit of even Rs100,000?
The simple answer is that if this is permitted, then NO ONE from an established political party will be elected, as people are fed up of the current bunch of free loaders and would prefer to elect an independent person of repute who would not sully him or herself by joining with one of the established political parties. Surely you the reader accepts that point.
If that is so, Why can’t we go back to basics and at least ensure that for Local Government representation, we can stick to this principle of democracy I have referred to above, and so be the envy of the world JUST FOR ONCE!
What more reason do you want to change the system? Let us all as citizens attempt the impossible, by demanding OUR SAY FOR ONCE and say NO to vested interests in how our local affairs, at least, are handled. Once this system is proven, taking it nationwide and changing the political culture would be a doddle!
After all everyone in Sri Lanka agrees that changing the system is what is needed. No one now is happy with the state of affairs and the consensus is that we MUST get rid of the present system. However the average JOE is hamstrung, NOT knowing how to go about exercising his franchise when no one he likes is seeking election. They simply resort to the lesser of two evils! They vote for a party they dislike just so that the party they dislike even more, is not given a chance. How simply warped can that thinking be?
We should therefore agitate for local individuals to singly seek election (not put a whole slate of candidates for whom they will not only have to pay their deposits, but also be choked by organizational nightmares in fielding numerous candidates.)
So what do I propose as an amendment, as we are unable to completely throw the recently passed ACT out of the window? Simply to permit a person, if he or she wishes, to seek election, only from the local area in which he or she LIVES.
It is then up to the public to either vote for this ONE person or others representing political parties (many independent people can put their hat in the ring, and like I said earlier, a deposit of Rs100,000 will deter time wasters)
Let us just see what the outcome is. If the political parties’ representatives win, then their fear in preventing this opportunity was mis-understood. If only independent candidates are in the majority, it will be a timely warning that politics as we know it, is HISTORY and a more reliable and democratic outcome has replaced it, and we must bow to the public demands and revert to a non-party stance.
In this set up it would be advisable to also add that one can only be elected once, so not only will it give other suitable candidates a stab at representing their constituents, but politics will not turn into a career. It is only practical for one to serve their community for one term, a sea change from the present. Further it will attract professionals of the highest caliber knowing their maximum commitment to their fellow citizens is just for 5 years.
It is the duty of the citizen to agitate for this change, galvanizing the public to pressurize the lawmakers, to change the law to reflect this more democratic alternative.
Surprisingly, the biggest reason given by naysayers is that “no one will be able to put a council together of independents, as no one will have a majority in the Council”, will be proved wrong, as the proposed system too does not guarantee ANY party to have a majority and would lead to bribery to join the largest party in order to govern. It is therefore easier for a council full of individual worthies and altruists to govern in the public good, by consensus.
I welcome my readers to offer alternatives as we need to begin a debate to settle on some core requirements which we can pressure the Government with.