An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Tuesday, 19 January 2010 20:15
[AHRC Article] SRI LANKA: The crisis of the Electoral Commission

January 16, 2010

An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission

SRI LANKA: The crisis of the Electoral Commission

Basil Fernando
The groups engaged in monitoring the election have reported flagrant violations of election laws, the illegal use of state assets and the use of violence. They have noted that in Sri Lanka today the collapse of the electoral system on an unprecedented scale is taking place. The election commissionerî–¸ own comments about the absence of cooperation between him and the government have also been very widely reported.

None of these observations would come as a surprise to anyone who has been an observer of the constitutional process in Sri Lanka. The collapse of public institutions has taken place over a long period of time and the debate on the 17th amendment to the constitution is merely a reflection of the extent of this collapse. The source of the collapse is the very nature of the constitutional arrangement in the 1978 Constitution, which has placed all power in the hands of a single person who holds the office of the Executive President.

The collapse of all public institutions, including the electoral process, is the necessary result of the political process initiated through the introduction of the executive presidential system. The existence of the executive presidential system in Sri Lanka and any form of democratic government, or even a rational government, are incompatible

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 20:20