Monday, 20 April 2020 13:59

Democracy on Trial, Public sector trade unions Rise;

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Heavy pressure from the need of tackling constitutional crisis and public sector trade unions is mounting against the caretaker government against the holding of elections within a short period of time without further delay by declaring a quick victory over the COVID-19 virus.

Constitutional crisis is also hanging like the sword of Damocles over the present administration as the current Vote on Account ends on April 30 and the parliamentary approval is necessary to obtain more funds from the Treasury.

If the government is to obtain more funds from the Treasury it needs to obtain parliamentary approval. This is a legal requirement and is part and parcel of the democratic system. Those who spend the money need to be held accountable.

Otherwise those who spend public money need to be held accountable and the Executive should be a check and balance to guarantee that those public funds are used in the public interest, constitutional experts said.

One of the options is to hold elections and convene a new parliament on or before 2nd June 2020 permitting the Election Commission to publish a new date for the poll they said adding that this will be a great risk for the people as the COVID-19 threat is still persist in the country.

Under this set up the president can use the power vested in him by Article 70(7) of the constitution. to summon Parliament any time after its dissolution to deal with an emergency or to withdraw the proclamation he issued on March 2 to dissolve Parliament.

This will enable to restore the previous parliament to continue until 1 September 2020, they claimed pointing out that is not clear as to which action in mind of the present administration.

Under this circumstance,21 publics sector trade unions have urged the Election Commission to focus attention on the health security of over 200,000 public sector officials who will be engaged in election duty if they decide to hold elections.

In a letter to the chairman of the Election Commission has informed the election commissioner hat their members are not ready to engage election duty at a risk of their lives in a dangerous situation where the country is still grappling with deadly virus.

The General Secretary of the union Chandima Wimalasurendra and its President U.Palihawadana informed the EC in writing that they are opposing the holding of elections in which their members will have to mingle with the people exposing themselves to deadly virus for the sake of an election.

Lanka Postal Services Union has also sent a letter under the signature of its president Jagath Mahinda to the EC vehemently protesting the holding of election during the Covid-19 perilous period.

They urged him not to push the lives of postal workers engaged in an essential service bound to election duty in to a grave risk.


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