President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and leaders of all political parties and independent groups are scheduled to take part in a discourse in April to clean up the political culture in the country.

It will mark the culmination of a nationwide movement calling for a clean-up of the mess.
The March 12 movement to clean up politics and those affiliated with it like administrative officers, planners, academics, village headmen, government agents, trade unions, artistes, civil society organizations, the business community and trade associations, religious figures and the media, forming a broad based social campaign will hold district level meetings with the political authority of all electorates and seats.

Organizations raising environmental concerns and ones that are working towards the prevention of drugs and alcohol too will be simultaneously addressing the same aspects.  The Movement will commence from the Independence Square on March 13 and will culminate with the forum involving national level politicians and political leaders on April 7 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.

Elections monitoring body, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) explained that change was required in the political culture as there was a breakdown in all sectors and spheres in the country.

Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi pointed out that the question remained as to how political parties would nominate and select candidates for an election, the proportional representation list and the women’s quota list.

He highlighted the importance of educating voters not to cast votes based on party allegiances or affiliations.

“People’s representatives should be of quality and substance. The candidate lists for the Local Government election is prepared entirely by political parties and independent groups. It is their responsibility. The people have no way to exercise preference. The people’s needs and requirements must be met. For example, the 25% quota for women is good but who is going to be sent and will they deliver? This is why how they are chosen based on what criterion is important. We want to create a dialogue regarding this with the political parties and independent groups including the Joint Opposition in order to pressure them to choose suitable persons based on merit,” Hettiarachchi said.
He said campaign finance reforms to played a pivotal role in relation to this matter.