“Do we want this ‘new normal’ of unchecked power, ‘authoritarian leadership’ and militarisation to facilitate or ensure economic growth and the sustainable development of our country? – Friday Forum.

( Text of a Media Release Issued by the ” FRIDAY FORUM” on 29th July, 2020 Under the Heading “VOTING IN THE ELECTIONS 2020: FOR PUBLIC OR RULERS’ WELFARE?)

On August 5th 2020, we as citizens will choose the people who may join the President in governing this country for the next five years, if a Parliamentary system of governance under the present 1978 Constitution continues. Parliament has not functioned for 4 months- well beyond the limit set by the Constitution- so we do not know what will happen after the elections, and how or when Parliament will meet.

We have exercised ‘people power’ and cast our votes at Elections many times. It is our experience that those we elect to public office tend to forget us and our needs and concerns soon after they take office, often with fanfare and publicity. This election is a defining one, conducted at a time when the country is facing the double crisis of a debilitating debt burden, and an unprecedented economic and public health crisis. It is therefore important to reflect on our current situation, and cast our votes to help achieve the kind of governance that will hold our rulers accountable to us, and provide primacy of place to citizens’ well-being, when they exercise their powers.

The Friday Forum identifies the following issues as of critical concern to all of us:

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