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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A Message to All Candidates by Friday Forum

The Friday Forum has, in recent statements, stressed factors and issues we consider important, when voting at an election, which is of critical importance for our country’s future.

We note the comparatively violence and intimidation free manner in which campaigns have been conducted this time. We need to recognise that this is largely due to the democratic space created after President Sirisena and a new government took office in January, and the continuous scrutiny of citizens that politicians have faced during this period. We also recognize and appreciate the commitment of the Commissioner of Elections, his staff, and other public officers in making this possible.

As we prepare to vote next Monday we need to remind parties and candidates that

1. We will not support parties or candidates who promote divisive and racist politics instead of seeking just and equitable solutions to our national problems. Those who misuse places of worship to spread such messages must not be allowed to return to Parliament and prejudice our progress as a conflict free and peaceful society.

2. We will not support adversarial attitudes in foreign relations that alienate us from the community of nations to which we have belonged since gaining independence in 1948. We are a sovereign nation, but must follow international norms and standards that bind us.

3. We will not re-elect those who have misused public office in acts of violence, intimidation and corruption, or who have not carried out their duties and responsibilities as members of Parliament.

4. All candidates and parties must respect the right of all public servants including those involved in election duty to perform their official responsibilities free of political interference and abuse of political power.

5. All individual candidates and politicians who seek our vote must give an assurance that they will not abuse the idea of a conscience vote to bargain and cross over to another party after elections. They need to recognise that in doing so they are completely rejecting their accountability to the people who supported them as candidates of a particular political party.

6. We as citizens have a right to demand that political parties do not bring candidates defeated at the elections into parliament through the National List.

Prof. Savitri Goonesekera
Dr. G. Usvatte-Aratchi
Shanthi Dias

On behalf of The Friday Forum Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, , Dr. G. Usvatte-Aratchi, Ms. Shanthi Dias , Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda, Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Dr. A. C. Viswalingam, Mr. Faiz-ur Rahman, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Mr. J.C.Weliamuna, Rt. Revd. Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Prof. Camena Guneratne, Dr. Gameela Samarasinghe, Mr. Saliya Peiris, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Ms. Damaris Wickremasekera, Mr. Pulasthi Hewamanna, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Ms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne.

(The Friday Forum is an informal group of concerned citizens pledged to uphold norms of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, human rights, media freedom and tolerance in our pluralist society.)


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