Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake on Friday said that the 17th amendment to the constitution, which had been hurriedly drafted and legalised in parliament, with 215 MPs voting in favour, did not cover all the shortcomings in the electoral system.
`I am not completely satisfied with the law as it stands,` he said. `There are several shortcomings.`
Among the shortcomings Dissanayake identified was that the law empowers him to monitor or regulate election coverage, commentary, etc only of the state media, both print and electronic, and not of the private media.
He said that all five nominees proposed to the independent elections commission were lawyers and there was no single nominee with experience in elections work or an SLAS officer or somebody who has distinguished himself/herself in public service.
`There is still time for the president to consider appropriate appointments. If not, it is I, who have undergone bypass surgery and suffered a mild heart attack recently, that must remain in office until the year 3000,` he said with a tinge of sarcasm.
He said that the 17th amendment had been drafted in 11 hours without the advice of any elections official or consultation with the commissioner `even for courtesy`s sake.`
The polls chief said that he was hurt by news reports alleging that he was connected to a person in politics and said that this was not so.
`It is up to civil society to push for the constitution of an independent elections commission,` he said. `As for me, I have got used to heart attacks.`