Reforms to allow Sri Lanka president to retain power: report

Chandi Dharmaratne

April 28, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s ruling party will press ahead with constitutional reforms to allow President Mahinda Rajapakse to run for a third term in office, a press report said Wednesday. With the support of smaller parties and defectors, Rajapakse’s party could soon muster the six seats needed to have the two-thirds majority needed to re-write the constitution. Rajapakse’s party won 144 seats in the 225-member parliament at elections earlier this month, consolidating his firm grip on power after his re-election at presidential polls in January.

The privately-run Daily Mirror said the reforms would be brought in before November.

“The change is not intended to give an opportunity to President Rajapakse, but to strengthen democracy and stabilise the government,” the paper quoted an unnamed minister as saying.

The current constitution limits a president to a maximum of 12 years in office.