Long over due changes on the way election campaigns are conducted in Sri Lanka, may become a reality for as per media reports, a matter receiving consideration by the New President.
In addition to the usual battle with political opponents at elections; the introduction of a preferential voting system saw candidates from the same political party in competition with each other to gain maximum preferential votes in their district.
With time most of these candidates ventured by any means to gain maximum votes incurring heavy expenditures to ‘purchase’ votes or even manipulate results during counting to declaration of winners.
These currupt representatives having entered the parliament, indulge in currupt activities, get served first to recover their election campaign costs and thereafter more wealth for accumulation, than serve the people.
It drastically changed the quality of representatives entering parliament. Allowed fraudulent morons to enter directly or support devious currupt politicians, prevented educated wise men and women entering parliament.
In this scenario, behaviour of members changed drastically both inside parliament and out in the country; life was not the same for ordinary citizens anymore. Thus corruption became part of life, as greedy currupt politicians not only recovered their election campaign expenses, but also accumulated wealth for generations.
Bitter Truth however is this was made possible by many citizens as ruled promoting currupt activities of their politicians turned rulers in return for favours.
Thus the once paradise little nation is today in ruins; though it was ruled by many experienced and talented political leaders got currupted themselves. The country is today in ruins and sadly a nation heavily in debts to many nations.
Then came a change from having politicians as Head of State, when a popular administer was elected as the President in the 2019 Presidential Election. Most people anticipated drastic changes to occur in governance; then like a tsunami the COVID19 pandemic occurred to shake not just the country, but whole world.
As the result of this pandemic the health authorities and all supporting services working 24/7 got stretched to their limits taking heavy risks are keeping the spread of virus under control. At this point, as anticipated new President promptly dissolved the parliament to prepare the country for a General Election planned for April.
In this scenario, with social distancing guidelines prevailing, normal election campaigns have to be ruled out. Thus the President has given thought to change the current practice of useless and expensive election campaigns.
However, with containment of the COVID19 still not completed the conditions are not conducive to hold elections. Thus it was postponed by the Election Commission to June, though a wise decision, there is still doubt if elections are possible by June.
Time has come to deviate from old method of election propaganda that is wasteful and spiteful; instead adopt a new political culture. While wishing the President to succeed in bringing changes to the election campaigns; ordinary citizens too must plan their strategy to pick quality candidates to vote at the forthcoming General Election. There by weed out all black sheep from the ballot paper and fill the house with quality representatives!