Sri Lanka’s President keeps promise to curtail powers: Dissolution soon

Apr 10, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement that the relevant clauses of 19th Amendment to the Constitution will be amended and presented to Parliament on April 20 this year.

The statement also said the Parliament would be dissolved after the passage of the 19th Amendment is passed.

“This would help to bring clarity to what is seen as a confused political situation that prevails in the country today,” the statement issued by the President Office quoted President Sirisena as saying in a meeting at Polonnaruwa Thursday.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday informed Parliament that the Supreme Court had clearly determined the 19th Amendment is consistent with the Constitution, but certain sections require a referendum which refers to the much talked “The Prime Minister shall be the head of the Cabinet of Ministers”

This was also the center of criticism and was pointed out by government ally Jathika Hela Urumaya saying the article severely affects the powers vested with the President.

Currently the President is the head of the cabinet.

Apart from that, certain articles that reduced the autocratic powers of the President will not be included in the new constitution.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe stated that the sections, which require a referendum, will be omitted from the 19th Amendment.

The Supreme Court took up 19 petitions filed against the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was presented to Parliament on March 24. The Supreme Court also heard seven intervening petitions, the statement said.

The petitions were taken up before a three member Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice K Sripavan and Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Priyasath Dep.

On Monday (06), the Supreme Court concluded the hearings on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which principally seeks the reduction of executive powers of the Presidency and restoration of independent commissions.