Our country is at the threshold of another General Election. The citizens are therefore, once again, given the opportunity to elect their representatives to parliament, says The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka in a statement on the forthcoming General Election.
“Due to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which has given additional powers to the Elections Commissioner, there seems to be an atmosphere conducive for a free and fair election. Cut-outs and posters which is a colossal waste of money have been curtailed and therefore, the environment has been spared of being polluted.
“It is heartening to note that civil society, in general, is becoming more conscious of the need to seriously reflect on the prevailing situation, and of casting their votes with discretion and discernment. “Political parties have already formed alliances, and have formulated their election manifestos and policy statements. “The Catholic Church has always upheld the importance of electing worthy candidates to the legislature as the peoples’ representatives. Educational back-ground, general culture, integrity and honesty, respect for law and order, are qualities that should characterise, those who are aspiring to political leadership.
“It is therefore, important that those who are genuinely interested in the development of the country and the promotion of peace, reconciliation and unity, be elected.
“The traditional affiliation and loyalty to one’s own political party should not be the sole criterion in the exercise of franchise.
“While there are positive signs of conducting the general elections in a free and fair manner, it is very important for all citizens of this land to be vigilant with regard to any violation of election laws. An awakened and mature civil society can help greatly in ensuring that the democratic rights of the voters can be exercised without fear or favour.
“We, therefore, urge all our faithful and all citizens of goodwill, to do their utmost in choosing worthy candidates for parliament in the forthcoming general elections. The statement that “we get the government we deserve” has been true in the past. Let us therefore, think of our country and the present and future generations and act with great responsibility in ensuring that we elect our representatives with great care and thereby, ensure that we have a government that will genuinely be interested in the development of our mother-land.
“In this important moment, we exhort our faithful, clergy and religious, to pray very much for our country and its future,”
The statement is signed by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka, Archbishop of Colombo.and Rt. Rev. Dr. D. Valence Mendis, Secretary General, Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka. Bishop of Chilaw.