Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 April 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

 Point of view  

The importance of public opinion

“Nobody can win elections only by working for the country alone. It is the people’s opinion that makes and breaks governments” says President Maithripala Sirisena- (2nd April 2016)

Political scientist Harold Lasswell once noted, “The open interplay of opinion and policy is the distinguishing mark of popular rule.” “Public opinion plays a number of important roles in a representative democracy. Leaders can take public opinion into account when making laws and formulating policy.

Public opinion can act as a check on leadership, as the members of the public can express their dissatisfaction with politicians who refuse to take their opinions into account and vote them out of office.

Opinion polls provide a mechanism for succinctly presenting the views of the masses to government leaders who are making decisions that will affect society.

Leaders often monitor the public pulse when making policy decisions, especially when they face an election campaign.” -Harold D. Lasswell, Democracy through Public Opinion (Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing Company, 1941)

President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the government are therefore best advised to assess public opinion on the ‘Delivery of the Promise of Democratic Transparent Good Governance over the past 15 months’.

In addition to a generic opinion on the above, the government will benefit immensely by testing public opinion on specific issues and actions:

1. Failure to deliver the following promises included in the first 100-day program;

*Enact the Right to Information Act

*Adopt a code of conduct and ethics governing persons in public life and control of conflicts of interest and related party transactions

*Enact the National Audit Act

2. Promise to abolish the Executive Presidency, return to a parliamentary democracy and bring in electoral reforms abolishing the proportional representation election process

3. To institute transitional justice processes to meet challenges from the international community and make constitutional amendments to resolve the ethnic conflict and ensure that tragic events of the past will never ever recur again.

4. Continuing serious acts of violation of human rights, violence, crimes, disappearances, break down in rule of law, and unacceptable conduct and use of excessive force of armed services and police personnel

5. The Central Bank Bond issue controversy purportedly involving the Governor of the Central Bank and a close family member

6. High level appointments to State Institutions and the Foreign Service, purportedly tainted by nepotism

7. Serious allegations against persons holding high office in the government, on account of high profile reported Acts of Corruption and Waste, Abuse of Power, Acts Contrary to Accepted Societal Norms of Behaviour and Ethical Conduct, Violation of Rule of Law, Misuse of Public Property, Damaging the Environment, Interference in Executive decision making and enforcement of the rule of law and Interference in public sector Appointments

8. Unprofessional, unacceptable and or questionable actions of persons holding high office in the government in connection with procurements, including;

*Sampur Power Project

*Coal and Petroleum Imports

*Tender for 65,000 houses for conflict affected persons in the North and East

*Recommencement of the Colombo Port City Project

*Mega value Tenders in the Highways and Roads Sector

*Development of the Railway linked mega tenders

*Emergency Rapid Response Ambulance Services

9. Proposed enactment without adequate public information and dialogue of;

*Western Region Megapolis Development Authority and Associated Development Plans

*Development Special Provisions Bill

*Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India

10. National planning, management of the macro economy, assurance of fiscal and monetary stability, management of the national budget, enhancement of government revenue, management of government debt, effective management of interest rates,exchange rate and inflation, national sovereign rating, control of the informal economy and effective enforcement of anti corruption and anti-money laundering measures

11. Independent investigation and prosecution of those purportedly engaged in acts of bribery, corruption, money laundering, abuse of power, misuse/ misappropriation of state property and resources, damaging the environment and ecology, under the previous regime

12. Safeguarding security, safety and sovereignty of Sri Lanka

-Chandra Jayaratne



Seylan Sure
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