Aug 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the government was able to further strengthen democracy through independent commissions due to its commitment to uphold the independence of institutions.
The Prime Minister said the independent commission system in place in Sri Lanka had received admiration from the entire world.
Me made these remarks when a Resolution to increase the emoluments and other allowances paid to Chairpersons and Members of nine Independent Commissions set up under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, was taken up for debate in Parliament on Thursday.
The Premier said today all these strikes are mushrooming because people have freedom and the media has the freedom to shout against the government.
"Today they know that they won't be abducted in white vans and killed. Can you imagine what would happened to journalists had they protested against the previous regime as they are doing now?" the Prime Minister asked.
Responding to the criticism that the government is delaying provincial council elections, the Premier said the electios will be held as soon as an agreement reached on the electoral system.
"We will definitely hold provincial councils elections. Have no doubts. We held the Local Government Elections even when the situation was not favorable to the government. We could have delayed the LG elections by citing various reasons, but we didn't do that. We lost and we accepted it. The PC elections will be conducted as soon as possible and we have to agree on the electoral system.
He said the public confidence in democratic elections was restored only after the setting up of the independent election commission. It has more decision making powers today,
The revisions to emoluments of Independent Commission members are with retrospective effect from June 1. The monthly allowance of Rs. 100,000 paid at present to the non ex-officio Chairpersons of Independent Commissions has been increased to Rs. 135,000. Ex-officio Chairpersons will receive 50 percent of the monthly allowance paid to the other Chairpersons in addition to salaries and allowances of their substantive posts.
The Chairperson and Members of the Election Commission will be paid a special allowance equivalent to three-fourths of their monthly allowance during the period from the day an election is declared to the day the results of that election is announced.
The monthly allowance of Rs. 75,000 paid at present to the non ex-officio Members of the Independent Commissions (other than Bribery Commission) has been increased to Rs. 90,000.
The monthly allowance of Rs. 95,000 paid at present to the Chairman and Members of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has been increased to Rs. 130,000.
Ex-officio Members of the Independent Commissions will be paid an allowance of Rs.10,000 for each meeting they attend.