News

Proposals to let voters recall MPs dismissed by the PSC

  • Proposal made by Election Commission withheld by Electoral Reforms PSC
  • Cites issues with implementation mechanism, but open to better-formulated proposal

BY Safrah Fazal 

Although a proposal to provide for the political recall of MPs was suggested to the relevant Parliament Select Committee (PSC) by the Election Commission, among various other proposals for the reform of election laws and the electoral system, the PSC in question has not recommended the proposal, citing uncertainty in its implementation, including issues of a practical nature.

Speaking to The Morning on Tuesday (9), Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake said that perceiving the need for the power of recall in the country, the proposal was put forward by the Election Commission towards the end of 2021 to the said PSC under the Chairmanship of then-Leader of the House and Minister, incumbent Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. 

“However, it has not been included among the 15 proposals provided in the PSC report,” he noted.

He added: “At the meeting held at the Election Commission on Monday (8), the PSC briefly discussed the recalling facility. They said that while they liked the idea of it, they had however not included it in the recommendations for future election law reforms, as the mechanism for its implementation is still uncertain. They agreed that this is something that should be executed, and said that a suitable mechanism for it should be proposed and then presented once again.”

Speaking further, Ratnayake said that the Commission’s aim was to get Parliament to agree to the proposal as a concept in the initial phase. 

“Parliament could hold discussions and arrive at a suitable mechanism for it thereafter,” he noted.

“Some countries have a mechanism where around 50,000 voters have to sign a petition which would allow for the recall of an elected representative. However, that cannot be implemented in our country, as our democracy is not as advanced or healthy. That said, we will try our best to implement a recalling facility that will be suitable for our country,” he added.