CaFFE decries PC Amendment Bill ‘Laughing mixture’ of hybrid electioneering

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By 2017-09-23

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has charged that the Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Bill is the most undemocratic Act that has been tabled in the history of the country's Parliament.

CaFFE has alleged that the Bill that has been ratified in Parliament is devoid of procedure, the acceptance and respect to the law of the land and it is 'laughing mixture' of a hybrid electioneering system.

CaFFE have raised 14 points to explain the danger posed to the country through the ratification of the PC Elections (Amendment) Bill and has mentioned the following reasons to further underscore their position against the Act:

One of the points CaFFE stated was that the Supreme Court has to decide whether the referred Bill is in keeping with the basic law of the land which is the country's constitution. The SC which deemed the Bill was not keeping with the constitution on 19 September was however, ratified with a two-thirds majority through the backdoor. In the history of the Parliament, there has never been an undemocratic procedure that had taken place such as this.

Also, through this Bill certain clauses in the 13th Amendment to the constitution will change. This will also go into history as the first such time that a clause of the country's constitution had been changed through a Bill, CaFFE noted in a statement.

The other point was that this Bill also goes against the conduct of activities in Parliament. The submission of 31-page amendments to change a three-page amendment further shows the danger posed by this Bill. Also the Bill has no relevance towards the increase of women politicians to PCs and the amendments added to the country's election system, CaFFE noted.

They also pointed out that the MPs only saw the amendments for the first time on 20 September at Parliament. That amendment has been privy to all other citizens of this country. Hence it has either not been debated at the Supreme Court or even among professionals or the public and can be termed as a secretive Bill.

The task of drawing up Bills in Parliament and ratifying them without the practical involvement of citizens, civil society groups is totally against the norms of good governance.

Through the ratification of this Bill, those who stand to get more political mileage are Muslim and up country Tamil parties and it will in the long-term pose a threat to nationalist parties while helping to strengthen the smaller minority parties.

They also noted that through this Bill it will lead to unstable PCs and it will be more visible at the Eastern and Central PCs in time to come.

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