Friday, August 28, 2009

The need for an independent Attorney General's Department

Today's New York Times reports:

"Despite the C.I.A. pressure and the stated desire of the White House not to dwell on the past, Mr. Holder (the US Attorney general) went ahead with an investigation that will determine whether agents broke the law in their brutal interrogations (during the Bush era)"
Here is Obama saying no to looking back into the past and the CIA saying please dont. But still the US AG is pushing for investigations. This would be unthinkable in Sri Lanka. I have seen the AG's department fellows vigorously defend the political programme of the GOSL in front of both judicial forums (Journalist Tissanayagam's Trial in the Colombo High Court , Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu's IDPs case in the Supreme Court) and in international political forums (like the UN Human Rights Council). Same goes with the AG absolutely surrendering his independence in advising the government on bills that might be constitutionally incompatible. The AG basically nods for everything.

The Ag's department should be acting in the public's interest and they are paid by the public. But they act as the Government's lawyers. They have absolutely no integrity. The AG has been appointed by the President whereas he should have been by the Constitutional Council which remains unconstituted by the President for more than four years now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Analysis of how the Jaffna people voted in the Municipal Council Elections

(I wrote this first as an email to colleagues and friends. Groundviews published it yesterday night here. I reproduce it here on my blog)

It appears to me that the TNA and TULF might have got more of the Tamil votes than EPDP in Jaffna.

Out of 13 seats for the UPFA, 4 have gone to Muslims candidates. 9 are from EPDP.

A Northern Displaced Muslim friend of mine says that 3000 votes were cast by the displaced Muslims living in Puttalam (If anyone has a better/accurate number i am willing to correct myself on this). Moulavi Sufiyan of Independent Group 1 himself polled around 1100 votes. The rest went to UPFA.

Total number of votes polled by UPFA is 10,000. If you subtract the Muslim votes from the 10,000 only about 8000 votes have gone to the EPDP from Jaffna Tamil residents. (i substract only 2000 since about 1000 have gone to the Moulavi) TNA has then got almost the equivalent number of votes that EPDP polled- 8000 - from Jaffna Tamil residents. Add to this TULF's votes that's 9000 votes. More than actually what EPDP received. This also reduces the number of Jaffna MC Tamil residents who have actually voted from 20,000 to around 17,000.

Remedius, TNA's Mayoral Candidate has topped the preferential votes (4,233 votes). That is 1000 votes more than the second on the preferential list (an EPDP candidate). UPFA's Mayoral Candidate Theyvendran didnt get enough preferential votes to be elected.

It is also no secret that most of the 3000 resettled from the Jaffna IDP camps on the 5th of August were from Kurunagar. A key constituency for the EPDP. This link is from EPDP's Official site:

No wonder Douglas Devananda has told Daily Mirror that he is disappointed with the results. He has told the local newspapers that it was a loss in Jaffna and a heavy one in Vavuniya.