29 November, 2023


Exclusive: Abolition Of Executive Presidency Comes A Cropper; Powers To Be Pruned

The cabinet today decided against the complete abolition of the Executive Presidency as promised in the election manifesto, and instead decided to gazette a diluted pruning of Executive Presidential powers.

Ranil MaithriThe decision was taken at the meeting of cabinet ministers this evening with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Accordingly the Executive Presidency is to be reformed on certain aspects, including the presidential term limit, period of presidency, executive powers on the dissolution of parliament.

The term limit is to be brought back to two terms while a president is to hold office for a period of 5 years as opposed to 6. The President will only have the power to dissolve parliament upon completion of a 4 and a half year term as opposed to the arbitrary exercise of the such powers. The exception would be when a request is made by a majority of 2/3rds of Parliamentarians to dissolve parliament prior to the 4 and half year term.

The cabinet decision comes in the wake of a meeting today by party leaders at the Presidential Secretariat.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Prof. G.L Peiris, Champika Ranawaka Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen and Vasudeva Nanayakkara had participated at the meeting. TNA and JVP leaders had not participated today’s party leaders’ meeting.

During the meeting Champika Ranawaka and the SLFP had staunchly opposed to a ‘cabinet form of government’  proposed previously.

They had raised strong objections to the abolition of the Executive Presidency as promised in the election manifesto.

Following heated exchanges, President Maithripala Sirisena had informed those present that he would make a final decision after consulting ‘Ranil and Chandrika on the matter’.

Ranawaka, and Nimal Siripala De Silva had stated that they will not be bound by any decision taken by the President, Prime Minister and CBK.

The draft 19th Amendment contained a complete overhaul of presidential powers which is now unlikely to be presented in parliament.

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Latest comments

  • 24

    LOL reminds me of the written pledge given by CBK way way way back in 1994 to abolish it within 6 months :-) 20+ years later…..

    Then followed by MR in his “chinthanaya” to do the same in 2005…….

    looks like Ranil still eyeing that prize which has eluded him so far !

    • 21

      I believe it is not easy to abolish executive presidency as people feel it.
      But ruling parties inlcuding Prez MY3 must explain it to the nation – ASAP. Else, people of this country specially ones who supported to send MR home will feel to have betrayed. Sooner the better. Silence can cost ruling parties a lot. I personally believe,abolish EP should be made by step by step – NOT ALLLOWING most abusive opponents taking the ground.

  • 14

    Sirisena is on the way to cut out Mahinda.

    • 23

      Mahinda Rajapakshe need therapies to realize gravity of abuses he has gone through during his last term. Billions that he deliberately lost will have to be grabed by taking over Mahinda Rajapakshes all properties to the very same manner he and his adminsitration did it with Lalith Kothalawala, but telling something far from truth. Not only in the case of Lalith kothlaawala, but also in several other cases, Mahinda painted a nice picutre keeping away the mere truth out of the nation.

  • 7

    MS is a two tongue man. MS justified (during his first talk show with Sannasgala) taking up the leadership of SLFP is aimed to garner 2/3 majority in the parliament for expected constitutional reforms.

    • 18

      So you want multi tongued MoRon making this country his private stable of donkeys.

  • 21

    Ranil Wickramasinghe, Mangala Samaraweera and UNP had had already shown enough to say that they are a liability to Sri lanka and they should be defeated at the general election.

  • 5

    Where is Prof. Laksiri Fernando? He said at the last election that CBK has learnt from her past mistakes!

  • 12

    Ranil wickramasinghe as the prime minister of the care take govt, is in a hurry to be the executive prime minister.

  • 10

    Why is n’t it easy. The President has enormous powers as it it now. Hand the whole thing to the Army and sweep out the current lot of clowns, all of them. Let us start from fresh, SLFP, UNP and UPFA this Sinhala Mafia (maapilaa, I should say) politicians are a disgrace. At least TNA keeps its dignity by not joining in with these rats!

    • 0

      Pity the rogues. Truth hurts!

  • 27

    A wise and welcome move. The leader at the helm should be nationally elected. He should stand for the wellbeing of all the peoples. The responsibilities vested in the executive presidency are very appropriate. The baby has not been discarded with the dirty bath water. The executive presidency has been shorn of it’s ugly aspects and is consonent with principles of democracy. Further, the proposed bill making hate mongering a crime is long overdue and will render the intent of the 19th amendment more meaningful.

    Changes to the manner in which we elect members of parliament should go hand in hand with the 19th amenment. One without the other would be meaningless and not take forward the mission of the new government.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0


      “Changes to the manner in which we elect members of parliament”

      What are the changes you are envisaging here?

      Also i may be wrong but i think sirisena did say in the manifesto before the election that either he would abolish the presidency or prune it,so if he is pruning it he is not breaking a promise is he?

      The JHU wants the presidency pruned instead of being abolished.i don’t know why,but ignoring them can be dangerous for maithri as mahinda found out to his cost.If he had kept the JHU and agreed to their 12 point proposal or come some compromise with them maybe he could have scraped through.So under the present circumstances this is the best way to go for maithri.

      where electoral reforms are concerned maithri should not ignore the JVP.They do not want first past the post system and i agree with them.

  • 10

    RW the wicked witch is trying to play smart. He is the PM and wants to prune the powers of an ELECTED President. If so he should have contested and pruned HIS powers IF he had won. People gave MS the OKAY so MR and his clan could be sent out.. Now it seems like MR is staging a come back…like how Sanath retired and then came back to play…

    Sadly MR is power greedy, IF not why would a 2 term President want a 3rd ILLEGAL term and now to be the PM… ? PURE POWER GREED…. Make it illegal for an ex president who was in office for 2 terms to contest as a PM candidate… MR has to realize he was SENT HOME NOT TO COME BACK…. enough is enough….

  • 8

    “They (Ranawaka & Nimal Siripala) had raised strong objections to the abolition of the Executive Presidency as promised in the election manifesto”

    For years they attacked JRJ and the UNP for the Executive Presidency and now they are against the abolition of it. Such fickle politicians.

    We the people who voted this government don’t want the EP. So Nimal & Ranawaka can go and fly a kite.

  • 1

    It is funny. Country is going from crises to crises. It has been so for the last 50 years or so. The main reason is that our politicians do not have received training for the job. They are trained only to utter on platforms during elections. No training to run the administration very unfortunately.
    Why do we not organise ourselves to conduct training classes for all of them to learn what is politics is and the importance of developing the economy. For me I do not mind the President enjoying kings powers even to kill someone like our old kings did, but if do it with due diligence. This needs training like soldiers having guns in their hands do not shoot at us, because they have been trained how and where to use the gun.
    When I started with the public service one of my prime jobs was to train trainees who arrived in this country for training in simple medical chemistry because in the fareastern countries they did not have the skill to diagnose simple illnesses. They learnt from us and developed their countries. We were on top then, now they are on top of us. We burrow from them and now the volume of loans have gone so much higher that the debt ration is around 80% Where do we move.
    Please impose a training programme for all politicians who do not have a proper education, exposure or even ability to think individually.

  • 7

    The Executive presidency should go and people have unambiguously voted for it. We know Chandrika Kumarutunge cheated the people. She gave a convenient excuse merely to enjoy the same privileges JR enjoyed telling that she did not have the required two third majorities in parliament to execute the abolition of presidency and she clung on. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to tell what she should have done lacking two third majority, she should have then placed the abolition of Presidency for an island-wide referendum and let the people decide. This is what she should have done.

    I think even now the politicians should not give lame excuses, and if they cannot, unable or even unwilling to carry out the promise they had made before the people then they should go for a referendum and allow the people to decide.

    This is the best course unlike playing another Chandrika Kumaruntge and again leading the people and the country down another decade of misery. I hope some sense will prevail in My3.

  • 4

    “powers to be pruned.. ” LOL.. complete the heading with the word “SLIGHTLY”!!!

  • 7

    Ranil bragged the other day that he showed how powerful he is by defeating un defeatable Rajapaksa.

    But can Ranil win a majority of seats to become a legitimate PM?.

    Smart money would say no.

    Gamralage Sirisena has gone past use by date for the UNP.

    Best Ranil can score may be 2 million..

    Sinhala Buddhists who were mislead by Gamarala, Champika, and Sobitha/ Rathne will abstain rather than voting for Ranil this time.after tasting Nepotism and Corruption free the Good Governance in the last 66 days.

    So what is the option for Ranil?.

    It is to destroy the SLFP or divide it in to two.

    First option is difficult if not impossible.

    But the second is feasible with the help of cousin Whiskey Madam.

    But the stumbling block will be Suripala,

    Even Tiger mate Solly and his Western buddies couldn’t roll him over, to give Prabakran his Eelaam at the so called Peace Talks..

    Siripala surely knows that he can be someone only if Rajapaksa with his 5.8 Million voters will help him..

    The conclusion an intelligent person can make from Ranils latest demands for Elections is that Ranil is planning to use Sira and the SLFP as the villains and ask the Electorate to give him the power to abolish the Presidency, and make him the Executive Prime Minister.

    Try and keep the Muslims in check, and perpetuate Elite , Anglican and Vellala Rule.

    But he is not going to say that he needs these powers most to give Sambandan and Wigneswaran their Eelaa more than anything else.

  • 3

    Evidently there a key element is missing in the
    CT story. As a result, most of the comments too
    tend to be misleading.

    One must read the 100 day pledges. It DOES NOT
    expressly say that the presidency or all
    presidential powers will be abolished. At the
    time the document was being prepared, there were
    serious differences between the JHU and the UNP.
    Thus what was stated was not categorical.

    Here is what has happened. Ranil Wickremesinghe (with
    the help of Jayampathy Wickremeratne) produced a
    draft 19th Amendment. In terms of that, all powers
    were to be vested in the Prime Minister. He was
    to be the head of government.

    What has now happened is different. Other parties in
    the Government have not agreed to Ranil’s move to
    get all the powers to the Prime Minister. So they
    reduced some powers of the President and left
    some behind.

    By doing cunning things, Ranil has caused suspicion
    about him in the minds of others in the government.
    Backdoor Prime Minister who did not assume office
    with the mandate of the people should not behave
    life this.He will pay for his arrogance at the

    • 4

      Backdoor Prime Minister who did not assume office with the mandate of the people should not behave life this

      Nicely put.

  • 8

    WRONG! This is what Maitree said in the manifesto: “The new Constitutional structure would be essentially an Executive allied with the Parliament through the Cabinet instead of the present autocratic Executive Presidential System. Under it the President would be equal with all other citizen before the law. I guarantee that in the proposed Constitutional Amendment I will not touch any Constitutional Article that could be changed only with the approval at a Referendum. I also ensure that I will not undertake any amendment that is detrimental to the stability,security and sovereignty of the country. My amendments will be only those that facilitate the stability, security and sovereignty of the country.”

    He said that “instead of the present autocratic Executive Presidential System” an Executive allied with the Parliament through the Cabinet will be set up. The word “autocratic” preceded “Executive Presidential System” and is clearly used an adjective. He did not say “I will abolish only those autocatic featutes of the system.”

    The 100 day programme is also very clear. This is what was to happen on 21 January.” The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.”

    Again, the authoritarian executive presidential system will be replaced (emphasis) “with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament”. He did not say I will only remove the “authoritarian powers”. The entire system is to be “replaced” with a Cabinet form of government.

    JHU and SLFPers who stood by MR have now joined forces. It will well known that Champaka belives he will be President. This is all for that.

    The people who voted for Maithree expected that he will deliver what was promised. The whole campaign was based on the abolition of the present system.

    • 2


      Thank you, you seem to be the only person here in this forum that understands the mandate under which the current president was chosen by the people. RW clearly stated on almost all the stages while campaigning that the executive presidency would be abolished in total, HOWEVER, in the case of the current candidate, there would be an exception whereby he would be given a few ministries, which includes Homeland Security (also known as ministry of Defense) until he completes term of office. From there onwards, any and all other presidents chosen will enjoy the previous status of being a ceremonial president as Sir William Gopallawa was.

      As for the pm being an executive prime minister, I really don’t think anyone knows the Westminster Ruling, whereby the Prime Minister annot at any event take a singular decision, but have to get the approval initially after proposing to the cabinet one approved, put to parliament for a debate in the case of the entire cabinet not being agreeable to the said matter.

  • 4

    Didnt this puppet president and his gang have a clear idea in place for this country, before coming into power???

    • 1

      Wait and see the Puppet president will learn a lession to MR soon. Have not you heard – that calm water is deep ?
      You the ilk would always cough paving all beds to breed criminals – MR is therefore your leader. He has sowed crimes in the country as majority of you like will never be able to make a distiction between JUSTICE and INJUSTICE, GOOD AND BAD, FAIRNESS and UNAFAIRNESS, UNETHICAL and ETHICAL, UNMORAL and MORAL etc.

      • 1

        So you agree he is a puppet???? Not only that ,he is a traitor and a fool!!!

    • 0

      He does not know whether he is coming or going. He is a foolish executive president with full powers and elected by the people who were misled by Ranil/Champika/ Sobithe Rathana/ CBK/ Rajitha etc who are now misleading him.
      He should not shed his executive powers until his full term is over.

  • 4

    What gets lost in all these hullabaloo is the promise to the electorate over doing away with Executive Presidency.

    Any government has to have an executive.

    Is CBK having the last laugh … ?

  • 4

    Liar Liar Sarong on fire.

    This double faced man got the taste of the executive powers and don’t want to let go.

    People should kick out these clowns and jokers. Sri Lanka need a solid man or a women leader, not a person with mixed gender, this picture tells thousand words. Soon, people will get another chance to correct their mistakes, people need to decide whether they need to live in Sri Lanka or She Lanka !!!

  • 2

    ” Why all the ex politicians want to come back” this is a gold mine they are not power hungry they are hungry for wealth never endindg greed.

  • 3

    Way has been paved in red to welcome Gotabaya Rajapakse as President down the line by Nimal Siripala and Champika. These guys have gone back on their word and this is the type of politicians we have in Sri Lanka.

    President Sirisena came to power promising all of us abolishment of the Executive Presidency, now he too has gone back.

    Sri Lankans have been cheated by these politicians who are only interested in their own positions and bribes they can collect.

    Yahapalanaya is fast becoming Gonpalanaya!

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