May 10, 2017

Is UPFA’s national list for Galle valid? Featured

The validity of the UPFA national list for Galle district has come in to question after the court of appeal decided last week that actress-politician Geetha Kumarasinghe is not qualified the hold her MP position owing to her nationality of both Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

The 19th amendment to the constitution that was adopted last year prevents a person with dual citizenship from holding a parliamentary seat.

Kumarasinghe has since filed an appeal in the supreme court.

If the SC upholds the CA decision, will the UPFA Galle district national list be valid?, BBC Sinhala Service asked several lawyers.

Differing opinions

Lal Wijenayake said that that is not so, as everybody in the list does not have to pay for the wrong of one of them, and if that is done, it is a violation of the voters’ rights.

However, Sudarshana Gunawardena of the Rights Now says there are differing opinions.

Since this is a rare case since the proportional representation system came into being, there is no precedence for such an instance, he said adding that the courts should take the decision.

No precedence

Previously, the UNP’s national list for the Colombo municipal council in 2006 was rejected over objections raised against the age of one nominee.

However, both Gunawardena and Wijenayake say the two instances are unrelated.

At the 2015 general election, objections were raised against the UPFA candidate list for Matara as one candidate, Manoj Prasanga Hewagampalage, held dual citizenship.

The district returning officer rejected the objections.

Meanwhile, EconomyNext says the CA’s unseating Kumarasinghe could lead to a major shift in the balance of power with the UPFA possibly losing 11 seats in the 225-member parliament, drastically changing the balance of power in favour of the UNP and giving the JVP a few more seats in parliament.


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