Elections monitoring bodies raised concerns about the right to information application made to the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration requesting for information with regard to the citizenship status of the 225 Parliamentarians, specifically on how many possessed dual citizenship.
Polls monitor, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) informed that it was nearing two months since they had last received any correspondence from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in this regard, prior to which the Department had kept PAFFREL abreast of the progress of the query.
Elsewhere, PAFFREL previously handed over a draft of a campaign finance reforms bill to President Maithripala Sirisena, which the President had in turn handed over to the Election Commission. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is yet to give a date to PAFFREL for the latter to hand over the draft to the former.
“Observations from the Election Commission can be obtained. However, ideally the President and the Prime Minister must present this bill after the Legal Draftsman’s Department has drafted it, to Parliament. Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, President’s Counsel Faiszer Musthapha too has promised to present it to Parliament. The draft was given previously to General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayake also. These avenues are better than bringing it as a private member bill. The two main Government Parties must come to a consensus on the matter. Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera has written stating that he would support such fully,” Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi explained.
Meanwhile, Hettiarachchi also noted that although the monitors and observers were preparing to file legal action in the Supreme Court over the alleged attempt to postpone the Provincial Councils elections via amendments being brought to the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988, to hold the said elections on one day, there was some likelihood that the Government would withdraw the proposed bill pertaining to the amendments, owing to uncertainty over obtaining a two thirds majority in this regard, pressure exerted by the elections monitors and the displeasure expressed by the Election Commission.