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New member and increased powers for presidential commission on electoral reforms

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a new member to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) set up to prepare proposals for electoral reforms while expanding the scope of mandate of the panel.

This was announced in a special gazette notification published by Presidential Secretary Saman Ekanayake on November 02.

As such, Alan Carmichael Vere David has been appointed as the 10th member of the PCoI, as it was observed that the number of commissioners holding office is not adequate to execute the functions of the commission more efficiently and speedily.

Further, President Wickremesinghe has increased the powers of the PCoI after identifying the necessity to expand the scope of the mandate of the commission.

In addition to the initially assigned duties and functions, the PCoI members are now also tasked with making recommendations including proposed legislation on the following factors;

i. Strengthening the multi-party system of Sri Lanka based on credible and stable political parties similar to other multi-party democracies

ii. The role of money in politics and prevention of policy capture, as well as public funding of political parties

iii. The accountability of the leadership to the members of the political parties

iv. The reduction of the expenditure incurred on election campaigns

v. The role of the political parties in strengthening national unity by promoting cooperation and mutual confidence among all sections of the people

vi. The promotion of policy-based political parties by having the following factors as the objectives
• safeguarding the sovereignty and independence of Sri Lanka
• political and economic stability
• a Sri Lankan identity and
• raising the social and economic standards of the people by transformation into a developed economy

nine-member PCoI, headed by former Chief Justice Priyasad Gerard Dep, was appointed on October 15, 2023, to obtain information, investigate, inquire into and report on making recommendations for the amendment of election laws upon examining the existing election laws.

Other members of the PCoI are Suntharam Arumainayaham; Senanayake Alisandaralage; Nalin Jayantha Abeysekara, PC; Rajitha Naveen Christopher Senaratna Perera; Ahamed Lebbe Mohamed Saleem; Sagarica Delgoda; Esther Sriyani Nimalka Fernando; and Vitharanage Deepani Samantha Rodrigo.

The panel was also tasked with making recommendations for the formulation of media standards for the appropriate use of media by political parties and independent groups, the introduction of a code of conduct for them, and strengthening of laws and regulations related to the registration of political parties and their operations in a manner that elicits trust and public accountability.

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