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Sri Lanka: Elect a candidate who will uphold democratic values

Despondency and political apathy will subject the governance of the country to those who are known for threatening civil liberties, and, perverting the course of justice will be the new norm. 

The statement issued by President, Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka

Prior to 8 January 2015, Sri Lanka had a Presidency with unbridled executive powers. The people’s confidence in democratic institutions was at an all-time low and they expressed their disgust by voting for a change.


With the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2015, the President’s executive and legislative powers were significantly curtailed. One can say that the pervasive culture of impunity and the blatant presence of nepotism, graft and dynastic rule that existed at that time have diminished to a great extent. Despite various flaws and debacles, the current governance has contributed to sustain the Rule of Law and regain faith in democratic practices. The public’s confidence in the Judiciary’s independence has also been restored to a degree.

While the many bold commitments made for ‘Good Governance’ have not fully materialised, candidates in the upcoming presidential election have given several falls promises that are either cannot be delivered or do not fall within the presidential remit.

Issues such as accountability and constitutional reforms, power-sharing, transitional justice for war-time atrocities, and protection of human rights and religious rights of all peoples of Sri Lanka still remain matters of contention.

We believe that the sooner these issues are resolved through constructive political discourse, our national security and economic prosperity will be better served, budgetary pressures will ease, and international relations will significantly improve.

Sri Lanka needs a strong statesmanship and a broad-minded political leadership. The time is now to have the people’s vote count.

AAGGSL appeal to the voters to elect a candidate who is most likely to uphold democratic values, preserve freedom of expression, respect rule of law and nurture reconciliation in the country. The grim realities of the repressive social order the previous autocratic regime maintained is all too vivid in our minds. A concerted community effort must be made to defeat their obstinate desire to return to power at any cost.

We urge the voters go to the polls in great numbers, indicate your first, second and third preferences on the ballot paper and exercise your democratic right wisely and tactically. Failure to do so will only abet the unapologetically corrupt and selfish politicians to assume unbridled political powers, yet again.

Despondency and political apathy will subject the governance of the country to those who are known for threatening civil liberties, and, perverting the course of justice will be the new norm. This election is your chance to democratically safeguard yours and your children’s rights to be free from a tide of would be repressive laws.

The choice is yours. With a very tight race predicted, casting your preferential votes strategically is all too important in this presidential election than ever before.

Signed:
Dr Lionel Bopage

Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka (AAGGSL) is an organisation committed to positively subscribing to the establishment of practising democracy and rule of law in Sri Lanka while respecting the rights and will of all its peoples.

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