26 September, 2020

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A Vote Of No-Confidence Cannot Remove The Prime Minister

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“it is absolutely clear that the 19th Amendment has conferred on the Prime Minister a specially privileged position. He cannot be removed just because a Vote of No confidence has been passed against him.”

Why the Vote Will Have no Terminal  Sting

Come Wednesday, the 4th April,  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe faces a crucial day in his long Parliamentary life. At this stage, predictions are terribly hard due to various complexities. However, it is possible that he may lose the vote of no-confidence (VNC) brought in by the JO. Whatever may happen, the move does not inflict terminal damage on the Prime Minister incumbent. In terms of the 19th Amendment he need not quit his role as Prime Minister as the passage of such a motion does not conform to the constitutionally specified ways in which the Prime Minister can be removed.

The motion, if successful, would be even less than tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in a Minister of the government. In the latter instance, a Minister can be removed at any time  and for no cause shown at the discretion of the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. A VNC in Parliament merely confers an ethical responsibility for the removal of the affected Minister; it is not a necessary reason.

It is distinctly different in the case of a VNC against the PM. A VNC passed by Parliament against the PM clearly does not accord with constitutional procedure that bears on the removal of the PM. It has no relevance  for the PM’s tenure in constitutional terms. The PM has to leave along with the rest of the government and that, too, on the basis of passage of a NCV against the whole government as set out in clause 48 (2) cited below. There is no objection for bringing a vote of no confidence; but the constitutional fact is that the Prime Minister cannot be removed thereby. The Speaker has allowed the motion and that is right. However, the motion if passed cannot remove the Prime Minister. It could well be politically unprecedented and damaging to the PM; but that is another issue.

I produce the relevant clauses of the 19th Amendment in order to prove my point:

“46 (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; (b) ceases to be a Member of Parliament

(b) 46 (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–

(c) is removed from office under the hand of the President on the advice of the Prime Minister;

(d) resigns from office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President; or

(e) ceases to be a Member of Parliament.”

How exactly a Prime Minister can go is laid down in the following clause :

“48 (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.”

Prime Minister’s Special Autonomy

It is easy to  see the distinct difference in the way a Prime Minister can go and a Minister can go. The other significant thing about this legislation is that it affords the Prime Minister a special autonomy and special privilege unlike  the situation before the 19th Amendment. Ministers and deputies can be appointed by the President only upon the advice of the PM. This indicates the very special position of the PM, which the President cannot override. To this extent the President’s power is limited by the Prime Minister. In fact, there is another clause which permits the impeachment of the President on the basis of a unanimous decision of the Chief Justice, PM and Speaker. Thus the PM can take part even in very the impeachment of the President on specified grounds that include inability to perform.

On all these counts it is absolutely clear that the 19th Amendment has conferred on the Prime Minister a specially privileged position. He cannot be removed just because a VNC has been passed on him.

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Latest comments

  • 13
    17

    It is clear now that UNP acolytes are bringing in various untenable, hair splitting legal arguments to protect PM. But our parliamentary system of democracy is based on the Westminister model. Therefore consider the No confidence motion took place in 1979 against the Labour PM Baron James Callaghan and ask Ranil to step down if he has got an iota of dignity . Callaghan government lost by 1 vote . Therefore if Ranil also a socalled clean suit politician let him adhere to that noble precedent . Just think , under these circumstances , he was a PM who tried to bring a fedaral constitution to take the country from frying pan to the fire . That itself is sufficient for him to be impeached and send home.

    • 14
      2

      Are we supposed to follow Westminster model and ignore our a written constitution?

    • 4
      1

      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      RE: A Vote Of No-Confidence Cannot Remove The Prime Minister

      “it is absolutely clear that the 19th Amendment has conferred on the Prime Minister a specially privileged position. He cannot be removed just because a Vote of No confidence has been passed against him.”

      “In terms of the 19th Amendment he need not quit his role as Prime Minister as the passage of such a motion does not conform to the constitutionally specified ways in which the Prime Minister can be removed.”

      “The PM has to leave along with the rest of the government and that, too, on the basis of passage of a NCV against the whole government as set out in clause 48 (2) cited below. “

      Why do they want a no-confidence motion on the Prime Minister?

      The crooks and killers are afraid they will be hauled for all their criminal wrongdoings, and this is one of the ways of getting of scot-free.

    • 5
      1

      What is wrong in bringing a federal constitution? This is another scaremongering to bring a racial division and to bring back the more corrupted Mahinda clan.

  • 11
    2

    Aiyo! Then JO’s and Mahataja’s (Ranil Channel) efforts are in vain?

    • 0
      6

      Buddhi Perera

      Oh no, no, nothing like that will happen

      A man defeated in a vote of no confidence have to leave as there’s no other option even if there’s provision to be derived.

      Otherwise he/she with such shamelessness may not be regarded as a human being & undoubtedly people will arise to stone it (& its buddies) until it’s left from human vicinity.

  • 13
    2

    You mean RW can do anything but cannot be removed !

    Is that a good thing ?

    Is this Jayasinghe sane ?

  • 5
    0

    Splitting hair eh? What a retreat…………

    • 3
      0

      Dayan, you seem to be still in the Mahinda mode.

      The decent people of this country want rule of law, not thuggery.

      You appear to endorse the manner in which MR took out poor Fonseka.

      Shame on you!!!

  • 9
    17

    If this guy loses the NCM, the executive president and commander-in-chief will probably send in the army and evict him from Temple Trees…:))

    • 6
      5

      Why you are that aggressive with him ? Why not that aggressiveness is clear in terms of most abusive Rajapakshe ? Is that because you have been mixed up with your genetics ?

      This bugger DJ would abuse this CT readership by calling himself a Dr. Actually his profile from his behaviours is far near to that of that school drop out Wimal Ponnaya Weerawanse.
      Who on earth would agree with DJ if he has a brain the size of a neede head.

      Weirayen weiraya nosansindhe? This is what my granny told me repeatedly.

      • 2
        3

        Hatharabirikatharina
        Again! Don’t insult Wimal. Unlike Dayan, Wimal has unwavering principles that he never change. He is one of the rare politicians who never changed his political vision for money or positions.

      • 0
        1

        Hatharabirikatharina

        “Weirayen weiraya nosansindhe? This is what my granny told me repeatedly.” Really??? Why didn’t you follow what she told you repeatedly? Otherwise what is the reason for this hatarabeeri hatred against Wimal always.

    • 6
      3

      Wishful Thinking Dayan: (“Dr”).
      a. This vote will fail
      b. RW will still be PM on April 6th
      c. This vote will fail
      d. Ministers don’t want to lose their perks.
      e. This vote will fail.
      f. MR will get egg on his face.
      g. This vote will fail.
      h. Sirisena will look like an arse
      i. This vote will fail.
      j. US is busy helping RW
      k. This vote will fail.
      l. Bribes are being paid.
      m. This vote will fail.

    • 2
      0

      Just like your bosom Pal MARA tried to stay in power after losing the Election by summoning the Chiefs. Luckily they did not heed the request.

      Don’t worry buddy, we will somehow bring the killers, murderers, rapists and Ace corrupt crooks of MARA regime to rule you over again.

      You eat rice, my friend ? or punac.

    • 6
      2

      CT readers

      Here is an exclusive scoop from a failed speculator.
      He hates Ranil so much so he no longer keeps his wishes secret. If this public racist is not restraint immediately by any means necessary, it would be too late for his own good.

    • 6
      2

      Dayan ~ “………If this guy loses the NCM, the executive president and commander-in-chief will probably send in the army and evict him from Temple Trees…:))”
      Dayan’s wishful thinking or is he suggesting that the next version of White-van is White Army Tanks?

    • 4
      0

      Die-Yarn – “…. the executive president and commander-in-chief will probably send in the army and evict him from Temple Trees..”. As a public racist and warmonger, please keep sniffing Medamulana Meeharaka’s loin cloth if you have nothing else to do at this ripe old age!

    • 3
      0

      What about your white van Dayan?

    • 1
      0

      talking through your hat dj. read the constitution and get some one to explain it to you. Any one who understands English knows that what SJ is saying is correct you moron.

    • 2
      0

      Dayan,

      What’s Plan B? Do another Digana is it?

    • 0
      0

      Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

      “If this guy loses the NCM, the executive president and commander-in-chief will…”

      The problem was that JO was using Wimal Buruwamsa math, 2/2 =0.Can they add?

      So, the PM will not lose the NCM.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imNWzYlVSbQ

      Sinhala Jokes Wimal Weerawansa

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZpbQDWl5ww

      JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka සිරා jokes about Wimal, Vasu & Udaya විමල් උදය

  • 7
    0

    Ranil is better than many..
    But he made a mistake.
    He owes a public appolgy .
    MR and co want to make politics out it.
    They make trouble to come to power .
    M&s will pay the price if he dislodge Ranil
    M&s is so naive .
    He does not know who is his political enemy.
    If MR come again MS will need to find a place to run.
    Or may US is best for him.snd his family to.seek asylum

  • 2
    0

    What happens if the President dissolves the Cabinet? Then the PM will evaporate. See-
    Section46 (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.

  • 4
    1

    I do not live in Sri Lanka. Hence I too am one of the misplaced emigre’s. I don’t know what is happening behind the scenes, but if I were a betting man, I would say RW will survive this NCM and defeat it. Ministers and Deputy Ministers and State Ministers don’t want to lose their perks, prestige and privileges. I bet a lot of money will change hands too. I would say he will be safe but I disqualify myself from making such statements because I am an outsider.

  • 3
    2

    Just like your bosom Pal MARA tried to stay in power after losing the Election by summoning the Chiefs. Luckily they did not heed the request.

    Don’t worry buddy, we will somehow bring the killers, murderers, rapists and Ace corrupt crooks of MARA regime to rule you over again.

    You eat rice, my friend ? or punac.

  • 4
    4

    RW has never done any thing illegal, not accumulated I’ll gotten wealth (in fact he doesn’t even own a car of his own) or robbed from the people. All these accusations including the so called “bond scam” has been manufactured by the JO – which they are very good at doing. If RW is forced to quit, the people of this country will mourn the loss for a very long time to come…

  • 4
    4

    Shameless man (Saimon the writer). Clutching at straws. Why don’t you ask the malaperethaya to go home and twiddle his thumbs. He hasn’t done much as PM four times.

  • 2
    2

    This man is a fool of the first order. He cites “46 (2) which says – 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… The point is there will not be a cabinet on April 5 whether he wins or loses. People like this writers are the people who occupied SLAS positions. No surprise the countryis like this today.–

  • 2
    0

    Dayan says if Ranil loses the NCM, the Executive President may have to send an army to remove him from Temple Trees. True. But he can’t send Ranil home or out of Parliament.
    JVP’s Motion to abolish Executive Presidency can send the President home and then to jail. Then there won’t be anybody to protect him.
    Not only that, without the Executive Presidency, Sinhalese will lose their last tool to decide the future of the country.
    Wimal should not have supported the NCM. He is making a serious blunder. Ranil is only one man. I am not bothered about him. What matters to me is retaining the Executive Presidency for Sinhalese. I hope Wimal will realize where this is actually leading to.

    • 0
      1

      I have no love for the Prime Minister. But it is foolhardy to support the NCM and risk the Executive Presidency which is the backbone of the political stability of our country and the protector of our democratic rights.
      .
      I strongly believe that the President should give the Prime Minister one last chance under one condition. Prime Minister should agree to, preferably in writing, that he will take a back seat and allow the President to govern the country. He should agree to not to take any crucial decisions, especially on the economic front (routine decisions, ok) without first consulting the President.
      .
      Guys, we, the general public have plethora of problems. Therefore, PLEASE stop this stupid tug-of-war in the government.
      .
      President should take immediate action to stop the new draconian Tax Law which is in effect as from April – our festive month! On top of skyrocketing cost of living, people now have to pay new taxes too. Almost all the new taxes are unfair and extreme.
      .
      Deaf, dumb and blind government and its lounger Finance Minister should find a way to generate revenue through development projects, rather than pickpocketing people’s hard earned money. Having, not one, not two, but over 100 lazybones as Ministers is the reason for the failure of this government.
      .
      On behalf of the general public, I urge the President to postpone the effective date of this new Tax Law to next year- “2019 April”, so that there is ample time for the President to review its impact on the 90% of the ordinary population and make necessary changes. I think the problem lies with our Parliament which follows the Westminster system. :D :D Once become Ministers, our fellows start thinking like the British, European, American, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, even Ghanaian (tax), but Sri Lankan.

  • 3
    2

    Exactly Shyamon , what a genius ! Ravi was removed just before NCM . Wijedasa ,
    without much ceremony . Marapana , exit and re-entry from the same door and For
    Ranil ,such a thing could not exist because it did not exist at more than 30 defeats
    and more importantly even after a humiliating loss in the recent LG poll which is
    a public opinion survey according to any analyst ! UNP and Ranil can argue that
    LG result can not change government but it is a matter of decency and a boost to
    good governance by example ! Do we have it ? The general public gives different
    names to these behaviours and react accordingly and you disrespect it because
    you expect no election wins in the near future and so stick around as longer as you
    can , to the last minute ! So , come on , more and more excuses and loop holes that
    you have left open without repair for your convenience !

  • 2
    0

    Ranil may survive again this time, but with deadly bruises and scars that would destroy him as a politically disabled PM. This may happen sooner than later; (that means before the deadline of 2019). Many people know that he conspired with some cunning western politicians to topple the Rajapaksas without any future plan for the country and nation. Even if it was a political necessity at the time, he used the wrong support from the wrong foreigner. It looks like he didn’t know exactly what he was doing in 2015.
    People now consider him and the UNP a political pariah, and would eagerly wait for the next election to teach him another unforgettable lesson. I believe UNPers are more eager than the rest of the country to use the opportunity; people will teach the same lesson to his circle of friends, without any second thought!
    The big winner, whether the NCM is won or not is the JO/SLPP led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is a win-win situation for Mahinda and his JO/SLPP. Mahinda has the people’s power with him and his victory at recent GL polls has given him the necessary ammunition to isolate and attack the UNP and its leader Ranil mercilessly.
    Many people in Sri Lanka believe in Karma and Ranil may be facing his own karmic actions/deeds (from Batalanda to CB bond scam) at the tail end of his political career.

  • 0
    0

    Our MPs have not been swayed by bribes of duty-free limousines, salary increases, parliamentary perks etc. Credit where credit is due!
    The votes of MPs can be bought. Chips? Plain cash, immunity from prosecution etc.
    .
    PS: Should we remove the PM? Answer: “No”

  • 4
    0

    Bloody humbug, Dayan some one should throw you on the Zahara desert to put some sense into your rotten head. You are an ace of trouble a maker who really clean naked for being with the murderers and looters. In the entire history of SL no other leader mudered so much innocent persons and looted the country Royally like MR & cabals. You got jungle education, and it’s the reason you behave in this way. Don’t worry man Ranil would be PM even after the 4th.

  • 0
    1

    The writer can distilled the crux of the matter. Each of us may have our own view in this matter. But this writer is stating facts. If I were Ranil, and if I lost the NCM I will go and sit in the opposition. Let the President appoint a PM, and let him appoint a cabinet. Let him understand that it is not simple. Let him understand the pain of sleeping with the enemy. Let him learn that the enemy he thinks he can sleep and get away with will devour him like a she spider after coitus. Because the Rajapakse she-spider cannot distinguish between sperm and food.
    Whether one likes to admit or not Ranil is appointed to the Premiership with the mandate of the people. Some goons and manipulators can’t wake up one day and do political trickery to mock the people. If MS wants an SLFP PM he should do better than 4% in the coming General Election and win it. Then he can have his SLFP PM. Till then he should be a bog boy and suck it up.
    I hope Ranil is not defeated, not for his sake but for the sake of democracy.
    And if he loses, I hope he will have the moral courage to sit in the opposition.
    One must never fear living in interesting times.

  • 1
    0

    Shyamon Jayasinghe. What president has to do it let him stay and allow him to do hara mkiri both to him and UNP. Wait and see.

  • 3
    0

    Attempts to abuse the writer are in vain. His analysis is on the spot. Being a senior civil servant this writer has the capacity to read legislation.

  • 1
    0

    I do not believe in making predictions on a situation that I have no control of. From all accounts however, the PM is a goner as the SLFP has decided to vote en bloc for the motion. Stories are rampant that the UNP money bags are on overdrive and that millions of ruppeees are on the table to deter some of the vulnerable SLFP ers to go against the party vote. If the NCM is carried through Ranil loses all legitimacy to continue as PM. He can be stripped of all his functions so that he remains a”NOWHERE MAN”. If he stubbornly refuses to step down. It also clears the way for a fresh general election the very mention of which sends the Govt into near epileptic seizures. So Mr Shameless and other votaries of a Govt that is clueless, lost, and confused, there is no question about it THE END IS NIGH. Start looking for places to hide from an enraged, deceived, population, sold down the river.

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