Postponement of election on whatever grounds is not a positive characteristic of democracy, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said. He was delivering the keynote address at the inaugural ceremony of the National Diploma in Politics and Political Leaders conducted by the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.
Responsibility of not holding elections should be taken not by the Elections Commission but by Parliament where the law-makers are, Deshapriya said. “Persons who are elected are responsible in making laws.
They are the very same who make laws to not hold elections,” Deshapriya stated.
Dehsapriya said it was the position held by the Elections Commission, just as much as it was his personal opinion.
He said it was in the hand of the Elections Commission to make decisions on holding elections; they would have already held elections on due time. “The local elections in Batticalowa has been postponed from 2013. Election in around 200 local governments has been postponed from 2015 up until now,” Deshapriya said.
Drawing examples from well-known court cases, Deshapriya established that right to vote is fundamental, even though it is not included in Sri Lanka’s Constitution. He told that legislation has established the ground that voting is a facet of freedom of expression. Deshapriya said postponing an election was a violation of freedom of expression.
Taking a human rights case filed against the Elections Commission for the military not allowing a group of voters not given permission to enter the ‘cleared area’ from the ‘unclear area’ in Batticalowa in the war time, Deshapriya told the decision was that “even for the reasons of security, the right to vote must not be violated.”
Deshapriya said Elections Commission was not out of work just because there were no elections held in the recent times. “It is not that we are like the Gypsy who lost its snake. We are continuing to raise awareness of the importance of universal franchise, sovereignty and constitution around Sri Lanka,” he said.
Addressing the students who are to follow the diploma course in politics and political leadership, Deshapriya told them, “if you want to become a good political leader, you should learn to take the blame and let others take the glory.” (Daily News)