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Earlier this year I was asked by Parliamentary officials to contribute to a journal that the Research division of Parliament proposed to publish. It was to deal with Policy Issues in the Post-Conflict Era. Articles were supposed to be of around 2000 words in length, which made sense since I assume they wish to accommodate as many Members of Parliament as possible. I felt obliged then to try to put something down, though clearly one would not be able to cover as much ground as one would like to within such limits.

Being spurred to think about such matters, and to write, was however salutary, and it struck me then that perhaps this could be a topic for a series of articles to follow on the literature series I had contributed to the ‘Island’. I don’t know whether the role of Parliament in terms of seeking good governance would be a generally popular topic, but I thought it worth trying to put down some ideas in a comprehensive manner. For the next few weeks therefore, as an interlude before some other literary topics, I plan to discuss what a Parliament should be, and why we have not succeeded in getting from our legislature the service the country needs.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2011
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