Discussion held on ‘Big Money in Politics’

The Centre for Progressive Network recently held a discussion with the participation of government and opposition politicians on “Big Money in Politics”, emphasizing the importance of introducing proper campaign finance regulations.

The forum of discussion was carried out by a panel that included Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC, SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, JVP politburo member Sunil Handunnetti and Centre for Monitoring Election Violence National Co-ordinator Manjula Gajanayake.

At the discussion it was emphasized by the panel the need for regulations to curb big money and corruption in the electoral system as the lack of campaign finance regulations has led to a deterioration of democracy in Sri Lanka.

Welcoming remarks of the discussion was made by Justice Minister Ali Sabry, where he stated that the government expects to see a new draft of this constitution in 2022 that will be discussed in Parliament but also required the input of the public. Following the call for submission of proposals recommending electoral reforms, discussions have been held recently with MPs across parties and civil society stakeholders to finalize and bring forward an electoral system that works for everyone, prior to any upcoming election, Sabry PC also stated.

Meanwhile, Manjula Gajanayake highlighted election campaign expenses from the 2019 Presidential and 2020 Parliamentary elections, and reiterated the commitment civil society organizations’ have towards ensuring campaign finance regulations are enacted in Sri Lanka.

During the discussion attention was drawn to the solutions such as adopting Campaign Finance regulations aimed at promoting fair political competition and curbing the influence of money, making it mandatory to disclose all political spending, closing fundraising loopholes for candidates, rules contribution and spending, enforcement, sanctions, securing the independence of the Election Commission and strengthen their ability to effectively enforce the law.

The panel discussion was held at Renuka City Hotel with the participation of students, activists and journalists.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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