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The Commissioner for Elections, the first victim of the lack of precision of the 17th amendment.


One of the themes that the common opposition made much of during the election campaign was the need to implement the 17th amendment immediately. In fact many of those without a political agenda also see this as a panacea for all ills. 

Sadly, in requesting the immediate appointment of the Constitutional Council, they do not take at all seriously the reasons given for not appointing it over the last few years. They also ignore the fact that the continuation in office of the Elections Commissioner, which they attribute to the absence of a Constitutional Council, was precipitated by a basic problem with the 17th amendment, which became apparent during the tenure of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. 

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Over the last few years, Sri Lanka has suffered from a spate of allegations concerning Human Rights violations. These cover a range of possible sins, though interestingly enough the focus keeps changing, as though to indicate that the purpose is primarily to attack the government, while finding any plausible rationale for this.

Thus, we are told the European Union suspended the GSP+ trade concession because of Human Rights violations. This move was in fact based on supposed non-compliance with certain UN conventions, but various spokesmen have concentrated on what is more fashionable for the moment.

Thus, while Sri Lanka was engaged in its ultimately successful campaign to eradicate the terrorist Tiger movement from its soil, there were allegations that suggested we were engaging in war crimes. Then the focus shifted to allegations about the way we were treating the displaced. The government however made it clear that it would not be dragooned into abandoning security precautions, nor would it engage in resettlement until demining had made the target areas reasonably safe, and some basic infrastructure was in place so that the returnees could get on with a decent future.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2010
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