07 September 2020
Branch-Stacking in Lankan Civil Service
The election of leaders by majority vote is known as exercise of Universal Franchise. Why Universal ? Because it is belief based. Belief confirms Truth and Truth is Universal. If a vote was obtained for personal and/or particular benefits which often happens through quid pro quos, its universality is negated.
Tamils of Sri Lanka have fought to preserve the Universality of their Belief that Sri Lanka is theirs also through Belief. They would naturally mind-merge with Sinhalese, Burghers and Muslims of different faiths who also believe that Sri Lanka is theirs. Politicians have to win the votes of majority believers to ‘show’ this claim. Hence elections.
The Election process itself has to be such as to protect this sovereign power of belief all along the voting process. Wikipedia confirms doubts about this during the 2020 Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka:
[Alleged manipulation attempts--
Candidate Sashikala Raviraj accused Jaffna District candidate M. A. Sumanthiran who was representing Tamil National Alliance of misconduct during the preference vote count in the Jaffna District and being seated inside the vote counting centre after the conclusion of the parliamentary election in contrast to the regulations as candidates are restricted from entering the counting centre during the process of counting votes after the election. However Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) noted that the claims of manipulation are false and is driven by social media misinformation and ignorance of the counting process. Sumanthiran denied the accusations noting that counting is done at different locations and brought to the electoral district's primary counting centre and that counting booth has agents from all parties who must provide their verification and agreement for the results to be finalised. Sumanthiran revealed that he was at his house during the counting and was not present in any counting centre and only visited the announcement area when the results were going to be released and that other candidates including Sashikala Raviraj were also present and spoke with the Returning Officer.
Allegations of unlawful action against the UNP
The SJB accused the head of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe, of attempting to save his seat in the parliament through preference votes and SJB claimed that the UNP didn't attain at least 5% of the total votes in order to secure a national seat in the parliament.]
These are indicators that would guide the true believer through a common pathway of sharing. Thus far, no Tamil Politician is reported to have taken the first allegation up in National Parliament. Likewise, no Opposition Member has taken up the second allegation. Any changes to the Constitution by the current Parliament lacks belief . The base needs to be stable to sustain changes to fundamental laws.
As highlighted yesterday, Article 99(2) of the Sri Lankan Constitution provides as follows:
[(2) Every elector at an election of Members of Parliament shall, in addition to his vote, be entitled to indicate his preferences for not more than three candidates nominated by the same recognized political party or independent group]
As per Wikipedia:
[196 MPs were elected from 22 multi-member electoral districts using the D'Hondt method with an open list, a proportional representation system.The remaining 29 seats were allocated to contesting parties and independent groups in proportion to their share of the national vote. The electoral commission announced that voters can vote for one main party and can cast votes to a maximum of 3 individuals as preferential votes.]
The D’Hondt method is presented as follows:
[The D'Hondt method or the Jefferson method is a highest averages method for allocating seats, and is thus a type of party-list proportional representation. The method described is named in the United States after Thomas Jefferson, who introduced the method for proportional allocation of seats in the United States House of Representatives in 1792, and in Europe after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt, who described the methodology in 1878. There are two forms: closed list (under which a party selects the order of election of their candidates) and open list (under which voters' choices determine the order).]
The above explains why even the educated Sri Lankan, leave alone one with just basic education, does not understand the system – as it has evolved over the years – but carrying those corrupt genes with it.
This kind of manipulation is not uncommon. In Australia, for example one of its forms is ‘Brach Stacking’ which was strongly indicated in the Sri Lankan Political parties towards election time:
[Branch stacking is a term used in Australian politics to describe the act of recruiting or signing up members for a local branch of a political party for the principal purpose of influencing the outcome of internal preselections of candidates for public office, or to inordinately influence policy of the party. ]
[Activities commonly considered to be branch stacking include:
· Paying another person's party membership fee, with or without their knowledge.
· Recruiting members on the condition that they are then obliged to vote in a particular way.
· Recruiting members for the express purpose of influencing the outcome of a ballot within the party.
· Recruiting members who do not live at the claimed address of enrolment.
· Enrolling people on the electoral roll with false information about their identity or their address of enrolment — this may either take the form of consensual false enrolment, or of forgery.
· Organising or paying concessional rate fees for a person who is ineligible for concessional rates.
· "Cemetery voting", or using the names of dead people to vote in a party preselection.
· Offering inducements to younger or less powerful party members to engage in such behaviour.]
Given that the voters do not have the expertise to identify with the rights and wrongs of such methods, we need strong Opposition including in the form of media to highlight and present our conclusions which to the extent they are true would get carried through the system of Universal Franchise of Democracy. The damages are highlighted through the following example which applies also to the Rajapaksa cluster in Sri Lanka, including Army Officers in Civil Service through Branch-stacking :
[The Hawke-Wran review of the ALP in 2002 claimed branch stacking, largely driven by factions seeking to expand their influence, had a "cancerous" effect on the party and a "deadening" effect on branch activity, as many of the recruited members have no commitment to the party.]
We witnessed this cancerous effect in both major parties – the UNP and the SLFP . Those carrying the genes would infect their new groups. When a politician cheats a believing voter, the karmic return is exponential. The believing voter expands beyond local borders whilst the non-believing politician who cheated such a voter shrinks her/his own mind and misses out on mind-merger with those who follow the law including in wider world. This is a serious risk for the Armed Soldiers of Sri Lanka.