COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s business community and professionals organisations have thrown their weight behind calls for voters to elect only ‘candidates of repute’ and against those involved in frauds, violence and crime at forthcoming polls.
A statement said they plan to launch an islandwide campaign asking political parties “to refrain from nominating candidates of disrepute’.
They also endorsed the ‘March 12th Declaration’ an initiative of PAFFREL (People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections) and the ‘Citizens’ Collective’, which identifies a set of minimum criteria that the political parties should use, in selecting candidates for all future elections.
Sri Lanka’s parliament was dissolved last week and fresh elections are to be held on August 17 with the new parliament convened on September 2.
The call came from the Joint Business Chambers consisting of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, The National Chamber of Exporters, Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry of Sri Lanka, International Chamber of Commerce, Joint Apparel Association Forum, Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, The Chamber of Young Lanka Entrepreneurs and the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon has made a collective decision to back the ‘March 12th Declaration’.
It said the ‘March 12th Movement for Clean Politics’ (M12M) is planning to launch a series of nation-wide activities to bring about pressure on all political parties to refrain from nominating candidates of disrepute.
They also want to create awareness among the public on the importance of electing politicians who have not involved in frauds, violent activities and crimes.
“By adhering to these guidelines political parties will help towards creating and guaranteeing the most essential conducive environment for democracy, good governance, rule of law and transparency, to the legislature,” it said.
The first of such mass scale Island wide activity, aiming at collecting one million signatures from the public, urging the political parties to nominate “clean candidates” to contest in future elections is currently underway and is travelling across the island.
It will conclude on the 06th of July at a meeting at which the petition with signatures collected across the island would be handed over to the leaders of political parties.
Simultaneously, an online signature campaign was also launched.