March 12 movement dismayed | Sunday Observer

March 12 movement dismayed

The March 12 movement led by election monitor PAFFREL is expected to take precautionary and preventive methods to ensure that nominations are not given without proper background checks, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told the Sunday Observer.

The movement will call upon the Election Commission to make the police report mandatory for those contesting elections in the future and, in addition, PAFFREL is expected to go to courts against the candidacy of alleged criminals or any candidates who are connected to alleged criminals.

The decision to make submissions to the Election authority in this regard has been made, in the aftermath of the revelations that main political parties have fielded questionable characters to contest the forthcoming local government elections scheduled for February 10, 2018, despite appeals by the civil society and other groups to select clean and educated people to run for public office.

“We wrote to all the main political parties appealing to them to nominate clean and corruption-free candidates, but so far we have got complaints against 25. Apparently, they have criminal and other charges against them,” Hettiarachchi said.

The actions by the political parties in the nomination process have become crucial, as under the new electoral system introduced this year, the voters’ right to choose the candidates of their preference has been axed. The preferential system of voting was removed to minimise election-related violence, especially due to rivalry over preferential votes.

The March 12 movement is a civil society movement launched with a mission to elect clean and corruption-free politicians to public office.

The movement consists of PAFFREL, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), Sanasa Group, TISL and Artists’ and university lecturers’ unions.

Under the existing law, only the individuals who have served jail terms for over three months are disqualified from contesting polls. But having pending court cases is not a barrier to enter the election fray.