Dec 18

It is essential that voters should be able to compare the policies and programmes of the Presidential candidates so that they may exercise their franchise to the best effect. The Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) has, therefore, prepared a short questionnaire for publication in the Press and for direct transmittal to the candidates. CIMOGG’s questions are -

1. Within 30 days of assuming office as President, will you implement the 17th Amendment as presently set out in the Constitution, by appointing to the Constitutional Council, your nominee and the persons whose names have been duly proposed by the relevant nominating authorities? ……. (Yes/ No)

2. Within 60 days of assuming office, will you provide the Constitutional Council with the support and resources required to enable them to appoint all members to the Elections Commission, the Public Service Commission, the National Police Commission, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, the Finance Commission and the Delimitation Commission, so that the next Parliamentary elections would be conducted with these Independent Commissions in place? ……. (Yes/No)

3. Within 60 days of assuming office, will you submit to Parliament, a Constitutional Amendment to remove Presidential Immunity from prosecution? ……. (Yes/No)

4. Within 60 days of assuming office, will you replace the Press Council with a Media Commission, in consultation with the Constitutional Council? ……. ( Yes/No)

5. Within 60 days of assuming office, will you have the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law amended so as to make such declarations compulsory when submitting nominations for any elected office, with provision for annual updating, all of which would have to be submitted to the Elections Commission, which would publish this information on its web site? ……. (Yes/No)

6. Within 90 days of your assuming office, will you set up, in consultation with the Constitutional Council, a Constitutional Reform Advisory Committee, of whom not more than one-third shall be lawyers, to prepare a new Constitution which will, inter alia -

a. maximize the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, with Parliament having full control over public finance? ……. (Yes/No)

b. limit the number of Cabinet Ministers to not more than twenty-five (25) and all other categories of Ministers (Deputy, Project, District etc) to not more than fifteen (15)?                    ……. (Yes/No)

c. remove the right of the President to dissolve Parliament as and when he wishes and, instead, fix specific dates for all elections at intervals of either 4 or 5 years? ……. (Yes/No)

d. provide, as in the case of all State employees, for the automatic suspension of any elected representative from functioning in his office if he is faced with criminal charges, unless and until such time as he is acquitted? ……. (Yes/No)

e. provide more realistically workable constitutional procedures for dealing with a President or Member of Parliament or Judicial Officer who violates his oath or affirmation to uphold and safeguard the Constitution? ……. (Yes/No)

7. Within 90 days of your assuming office, will you bring before Parliament a Right to Information bill and include in it comprehensive protection for whistleblowers?                 …….(Yes/No)

8. Within 90 days of your assuming office, will you take concrete steps, to ensure that the 16th Amendment (relating to Official Languages) is brought into full implementation over the following 12 months? ……. (Yes/No)

9. Within 90 days of your assuming office, will you take steps, to publish the full contents of the reports of all the Commissions of Inquiry which have been paid for from State funds from the date of Independence? ……. (Yes/No)

10. Within 120 days of your assuming office, will you take steps, to pass laws conforming to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Optional Protocol, both of which were ratified by Sri Lanka in 1976, and the Second Optional Protocol, ratified in 1991, which would, inter alia, protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and create a favourable ambience for building national unity? ……. (Yes/No)

11. Within 180 days of assuming office, will you appoint a Commission to recommend specific programmes to reverse the damage done to national unity as is happening at present by separating school children into differing ethnic and religious streams? ……. (Yes/No)

12. Within 12 months of assuming office, will you ensure that the Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption is provided with its own Investigation and Prosecution Unit and all necessary resources to examine the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities of those who are required to submit and update them, taking into account all information received from whatever source, and to take steps to have legal action instituted against those who do not submit the annual updates or cannot explain how they came by their assets? ……. (Yes/No)

13. Within 18 months of assuming office, will you pass the necessary laws and make the requisite administrative arrangements to enable our expatriate citizens to vote in Sri Lankan Presidential and Parliamentary elections? ……. (Yes/No)

14. Is it your intention to implement the 13th Amendment in part, in full or in full and more? ……. (In part / In full / In full and more)

Members of the public may wish to retain copies of these questions because CIMOGG will publish the answers when these are received.

Dr A.C.Visvalingam
President, CIMOGG
www.cimog-srilanka.org