Friday, 3 April 2015

100 Days Constructive change or election gimmick? By Kishani Samaraweera

  • Saturday, 28 March 2015 00:00

The 100-Day program promised during the election campaign of the then common candidate has failed to deliver some of the vital elements of its composition.

Overdue tasks of the 100-day program are establishing of  Independent Commissions, National Audit Bill and the RTI Bill,Code of Conduct to be  introduced and passed in the Parliament according to the stipulated time frame and the formulation of new election laws.

 However, it should also be noted that though some promises were not kept according to the expected or rather promised plan, the government was able to fulfill such promises as setting up a National Advisory Council, a Budget with several cost of living relief measures, a salary increase, commission to investigate corruption, implementation of the National Drug policy within the stipulated time frame.

With 25 more days left for the 100-day
program to end it is worth noting the change of views of the political parties, including those who openly pledged support to the government during elections, as to what they think of this 100 day program. Some political parties now claim that their part of the agreement is not fulfilled and therefore they are much in doubt whether the government will be able to implement the 100-day program as promised.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) General Secretary, Mavai Senathirajah talking to The Nation mentioned that discussions took place between the President Maithripala Sirisena, the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga prior to the preparation of the 100 day program and  they agreed immediate relief for resettlement issues of Tamils in the North and East, to probe into disappearances that happened during the war and during the tenure of the past government and also to give  pardon to the Tamil prisoners. “They promised that those issues will be addressed within the 100 days. But so far nothing has happened. Therefore the TNA is very much in doubt whether the government will be able to fulfill the other promises made to the public,” said Senathirajah. He reiterated that the Tamil people voted for the government with the intention that the concerns of the Tamil peoples will be addressed.

Chairman, National Trade Union Centre
K.D. Lalkantha expressing his opinion said that one should accept the fact that there has been a constructive change in the country compared to the previous regime.

“Since Independent Commissions are being established. There is less chance for the politicians to manipulate or interfere with the functions and duties of a government body,” he said. He also mentioned that they are satisfied with developments regarding the making of the Right to Information bill (RTI) and Ethical code of conduct.

 “The country is now moving from the Executive Presidency towards the Parliamentary system which is a very positive move and was in fact a dire need of the country for a long time,” he said.

However Lal Kantha expressed concern over the inaction of the government regarding the corruption charges of officials. He pointed out that the “National Government” which has been formed by the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will never look into incidents related to corruption which took place especially from  2001 when the UNP was in power and from 2005 when it was the SLFP.

“How can we expect proper investigations to be carried out and wrongdoers punished from this national government? The situation will be the same even after a year’s time,” he added.

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Media Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe revealing the party’s notion on the 100-day program said,”100-day program is nothing but a piece of paper. We are not involved in making of the 100-day program but only in making the manifesto.”

Expressing his ideas on the proposed electoral system Warnasinghe mentioned that the focus should be on promises made other than on technical aspects like time frames. “If the government promised a set of things to the people they must make sure that those are fulfilled,” he said.

Democratic Left Front Leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara was however very critical of the government’s 100-day program, “The Head of the State, the President started the 100-day program by usurping his power by removing the Chief Justice undemocratically.”
It is interesting to note that though Nanayakkara do not agree with the government’s agenda, he thinks that the implementation of the National Drug Policy was an excellent move and the proposed electoral reforms also seem promising.
“We hope that a positive and a favorable electoral system will be introduced,” he said. Another fact which is worth mentioning is that the JHU, who are not happy with the present situation with regards to the constitutional amendments being drafted, said amendments should be open, transparent and democratic.

 “It should not be happening secretly and nothing can be done in a hurry. We feel that the manner the 19th amendment was presented to the Parliament is clearly a conspiracy and we are definitely not happy about it,” said the JHU Spokesperson.
Ongoing tasks of the 100-day program are amendments with regard to standing orders, abolishing the Executive Presidency and replacing the current system with a mixed electoral system.
Source:  http://www.nation.lk/edition/news-features/item/39557-100-days-constructive-change-or-election-gimmick?.html

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