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'Young politicians mean less corruption'

"More young politicians in Parliament means less corruption. They will be careful in manoeuvering in the field as politicians. They have to build a reputation among the public. Therefore, there will be a grace period in politics to correct the wrongs done in the current environment and create good governance," Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said.

Hirunika Premachandra Geetha Kumarasinghe
Mayantha Dissanayake Karunaratne Pranawithana
Harshana Rajakaruna Chathura Senaratne

Politicians elected through the vote on August 17 will be sworn in as parliamentarians. On an average over 70% of the eligible voters, selected 196 politicians as their representatives and 64 of them are new to Parliament. The national lists of the two mainstream parties contain just five newcomers.

The selection has not been confined only to youth. Experts, grass root level seasoned politicians were prominent among the new law makers.

The trend of selecting new faces seems to be a positive sign of a changing political environment, despite the fact that Parliament will have to arrange an extensive orientation program. Hirunika Premachandra, Rohinie Wijeratne and Geetha Kumarasinghe are the only women parliamentarians in the newcomers list.

Nominating more youth to the nominations list has not been that difficult in a changing political environment, eventhough there is still no quota system to facilitate young blood in politics.

Youth form a significant portion of any political party and they serve as the reserve for future leaders and policy makers.

Almost all political parties have made an effort to empower youth, but it still lacks an efficient system to elevate them to the next level.

Nominated by the United National Party's wing for youth and its young professionals association, youth are being given a better chance of getting into the election fray, said first time parliamentarian, Harashana Rajakaruna who was a former Provincial Councillor as well. The UNP's young professionals' association is headed by Rajakaruna.

With a significant number of youth in Parliament, Rajakaruna said that there will be a campaign to bring in more young parliamentarians while fulfilling their obligations to their people.

Hopefully, with more new comers their will be a new approach to prolonged problems of youth.

Among the new faces, some are from well- known political families including parliamentarians such as Mayantha Dissanayake, Harshana Rajakaruna, Kavindra Jayawaradane, Chathura Senaratne, Hirunika Premachandra and D.V. Chanuka Dinushan.

Being a key player of the March 12 Movement(Coalition of civil organisations formed in 2015), PAFFREL fully supports bringing in more youth as Parliamentarians, he emphasised.

The result could be the same with the increased number of lawmakers.

While serving the people they are concerned about safeguarding their reputation with the hard gained victory, which they won over severe competition, which came at a price. This situation will prevail at least for the first few years.

In its truest sense, a parliamentarian has to shoulder a huge responsibility towards the government, the party and the people.

With an estimated 70 percent still struggling in a hand-to-mouth existence, the national poverty alleviation will be given the highest priority.

The new parliamentarians have a huge role to play in this endeavour. If the Government wants the poor and middle-class to co-operate in rebuilding a new Sri Lanka, they obviously cannot merely preach to people who are hungry and struggling to exist. Social justice must be meted out first.

Whether a politician is an amateur or veteran, the new leaders and all MPs cannot take a rest now.

They have millions of promises to fulfil and many more miles to cover.

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