President issues extraordinary gazette declaring Mahinda as new PM

Oct 27, 2018 (LBO) – President Maithripala Sirisena has issued two extraordinary gazette notifications a few hours ago removing Ranil Wickremasinghe from the post and appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister.

Secretary to the President Udaya R Seneviratne issuing a gazette notification on behalf of the President said under Article 42(4) of the Constitution Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed to the Office of Prime Minister with effect from October 26, 2018.

Meanwhile, the UNP has called on the Speaker to hold a special Parliamentary session on Sunday to resolve the issue by showing the majority in Parliament. The Speaker and other small political parties are yet to comment on the issue.

Police Spokesman says IGP Pujith Jayasundara has ordered to cancel all leave applications of Police personnel with immediate effect. Jayasundara who met Rajapaksa at his official residence yesterday has reportedly pledged that he will uphold the law and order in the country.

It seems that the Joint Opposition led by Mahinda Rajapaksa has already taken control of the state-owned Television stations Rupavahini and ITN.

The relevant section of Sri Lanka’s 19th amendment to the constitution is reproduced below:

CHAPTER VIII
THE EXECUTIVE
The Cabinet of Ministers

Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers

42.
(1) There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers charged with the direction and control of the Government of the Republic.
(2) The Cabinet of Ministers shall be collectively responsible and answerable to Parliament.
(3) The President shall be a member of the Cabinet of Ministers and shall be the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers.
(4) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.

Tenure of office of the Prime Minister, and the limitation of numbers and tenure of office of Ministers and Deputy Ministers

46.

(1) The total number of–
(a) Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers shall not exceed thirty; and
(b) Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall not, in the aggregate, exceed forty.

(2) The Prime Minister shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution unless he –
(a) resigns his office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President; or
(b) ceases to be a Member of Parliament.

(3) A Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, a Minister who is not a member of the Cabinet of Ministers and a Deputy Minister, shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution unless he–
(a) is removed from office under the hand of the President on the advice of the Prime Minister;
(b) resigns from office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President; or
(c) ceases to be a Member of Parliament.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph (1) of this Article, where the recognized political party or the independent group which obtains highest number of seats in Parliament forms a National Government, the number of Ministers in the Cabinet of Ministers, the number of Ministers who are not Cabinet of Ministers and the number of Deputy Ministers shall be determined by Parliament.

(5) For the purpose of paragraph (4), National Government means, a Government formed by the recognized political party or the independent group which obtains the highest number of seats in Parliament together with the other recognized political parties or the independent groups.

Dissolution of the Cabinet of Ministers

48. (1) On the Prime Minister ceasing to hold office by death, resignation or otherwise, except during the period intervening between the dissolution of Parliament and the conclusion of the General Election, the Cabinet of Ministers shall, unless the President has in the exercise of his powers under Article 70, dissolved Parliament, stand dissolved and the President shall appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of Articles 42, 43, 44 and 45:

Provided that if after the Prime Minister so ceases to hold office, Parliament is dissolved, the Cabinet of Ministers shall continue to function with the other Ministers of the Cabinet as its members, until the conclusion of the General Election. The President may appoint one such Minister to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the Prime Minister, and the provisions of Article 47 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.

(2) If Parliament rejects the Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill or passes a vote of no-confidence in the Government, the Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved, and the President shall, unless he has in the exercise of his powers under Article 70, dissolved Parliament, appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of Articles 42, 43, 44 and 45.

2094-44_E
2094-43_E