Appoint civilian instead of Rtd. Military officer as NP Governor – Ranil tells President

Appoint civilian instead of Rtd. Military officer as NP Governor – Ranil tells President

June 13, 2013   03:15 pm

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In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe today called for the appointment of a civilian instead of a retired military officer to the post of Northern Province Governor. 


Wickremasinghe which quotes media which reported that the Government is going ahead with the preparations to hold the Northern Provincial Council elections in September 2013 adds that the United National Party and other Opposition political parties have, in Parliament, consistently referred to a number of incidents in the Northern Province where the Government machinery has been utilized to intimidate members supporting Opposition political parties.  


He claims that The situation is further aggravated by the open friction between some of the military authorities in the North and Opposition politicians.


This has resulted in a loss of confidence in the ability to conduct free and fair elections in the Northern Province, Wickremasinghe adds.


Wickremasinghe notes measure that need to be implemented immediately by the Government, prior to announcing the Elections to the Northern Provincial Council that to ensure a free and fair election.

 

He also requests President Rajapaksa schedule a meeting for a delegation headed by him to discuss these issues.

 

Letter sent by Ranil Wickremasinghe to President Mahinda Rajapaksa;


12 June 2013

 His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa

President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Presidential Secretariat

Colombo 1

 

Your Excellency,

 

The media states that the Government is going ahead with the preparations to hold the Northern Provincial Council elections in September 2013. This gives effect to the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution of 21 March 2013, which welcomed “the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013”. The implementation of this resolution will require the election to conform to Article 21 of the Universal


Declaration of Human Rights, which states that:

 

“the will of the people shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

 

This right has been further reiterated in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which reads as follows:

 

 

        “To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing and free expressions of the will of the electors.”

 

The United National Party and other Opposition political parties have, in Parliament, consistently referred to a number of incidents in the Northern Province where the Government machinery has been utilized to intimidate members supporting Opposition political parties.  The situation is further aggravated by the open friction between some of the military authorities in the North and Opposition politicians. This has resulted in a loss of confidence in the ability to conduct free and fair elections in the Northern Province. 

 

 

The Opposition parties and civil society have called for the immediate implementation of the UNHRC Resolution of 21 March 2013 relating to the holding of elections to the Northern Provincial Council. If this were done genuinely, the Government of Sri Lanka would be commended for holding the elections. Further, this will cease to be a contentious issue at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. 

 

 

To ensure a free and fair election of the Northern Provincial Council, it is essential that the following measures be implemented immediately by the Government, prior to announcing the Elections to the Northern Provincial Council.

 

 

  1. The restoration of the 17th Amendment of the Constitution by repealing the relevant provisions of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

 

  1. The Amendment restoring the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, for the above purpose, to include an additional provision to strengthen the Police Commission on the lines of the LLRC recommendation that “Such a Commission should be empowered to monitor the performance of the Police Service and ensure that all police officers act independently and maintain a high degree of professional conduct.” 

 

  1. The immediate replacement of the Governor of the Northern Province.  Instead of a retired military officer, a civilian accepted by all parties should be appointed to the post. 

 

  1. An invitation to a team from the Commonwealth to observe the elections from the day of nominations to a week after the declaration of results.

 

I would be grateful if Your Excellency would schedule a meeting for a delegation headed by me to discuss the above-mentioned issues.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Leader of the Opposition – Parliament 


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