October 11, 2018 (LBO) – Global diplomat Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala has been appointed to Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Council. He is one of 3 new civil society members appointed for a 3 year term.
The Constitutional Council is a 10-member constitutional authority tasked with maintaining independent commissions and monitoring their affairs. The Council is aimed at depoliticizing the public service, playing a key role in the appointment of officials like the IGP, CJ and Elections Commissioner. Other new members of the Constitutional Council approved by Parliament are Ahamed Javed Yusoof and Naaganaadan Selvakkumaaran.
Dhanapala is one of Sri Lanka’s most accomplished diplomats. He has served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to many of the world’s most important countries. He later joined the United Nations where he rose to the level of Under Secretary General for Disarmament, reporting directly to Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Dhanapala mounted a credible campaign for Secretary General of the United Nations, a position which was eventually won by Ban Ki-moon. At one point there was speculation that he would be appointed to the national list and made Foreign Minister after the assasination of Lakshman Kadirgamar.
Analysts expect the appointment of Dhanapala to the Council will solidify its independence as well as give the Council more teeth. Dhanapala will sit in the council as an independent peer to the Speaker, Opposition Leader, Prime Minister and others. Due to his experience and standing in the global diplomatic hierarchy, there is optimism that workings of the council will be more than what may have been past perceived as a rubber stamp.