Colombo Telegraph

Don’t Abolish The Presidency, Just Change It Stupid!

By Sujata Gamage –

Dr. Sujata Gamage

Mr. Maithripala Sirisena’s appearance as the common candidate opposing the incumbent president has thrown the Sri Lankan political scene into whirl.

Unfortunately, all we hear from the opposition is that they are going to abolish the presidency, but, exactly how are they going to do? As articulated recently, will the common candidate have the support of the two third of the MPs in the parliament for a constitutional change? Even if he did, is he going to step down in 100 days and hand over the reigns to Ranil or whoever?  If a stepping down took place, that would be bizarre. We vote for somebody and somebody else sneaks in?

Whatever discussions that have been going on, it is time for the opposition coalition to come together and talk some sense. Change the agenda through an open discussion. If I had a chance, my topic for discussion would be not keep the presidency and change the constitution to make the president more accountable?

My wish list is short;

1. All elections including the presidential election will be held on a set day each year, mandated in the constitution. Presidential election every six year, parliament, provincial councils and local government every four to five years on the same day. The president cannot call elections at his whim.

2. Nobody can campaign while holding office. They have to handover reigns during political campaigns. For example, we should have had an acting president from yesterday when the president decided to run..

3. President is mandated to appoint the all the required commissions and councils within a stipulated period. If the parliament cannot make up its mind, he/she can appoint his own.

Anybody listening?

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