Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) notes with grave concern the attempt by the Government to rush through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by presenting it as an urgent Bill in Parliament. By doing so the people have been deprived of the opportunity to discuss and debate a matter of vital importance.
We also note that the 17th Amendment to the Constitution that protected the independence of the Public Service has been virtually made redundant. With the new Amendment, the Public Service (including the Police) will be open to political exploitation allowing the politicians to interfere with all aspects of the Public Service. This, TISL believes, is not in keeping with the democratic values and will affect the independence of the Public Service.
In addition, the proposed Amendment takes away the Election Commissioner’s authority to safeguard public property and the independence of public officials during the elections. This will seriously affect integrity and good governance.
TISL earnestly appeals to the Government that the proposed Amendment be reconsidered and the Public Service is left free of political interference. The Election Commissioner should be allowed to function independently thereby ensuring integrity and political independence of his office.