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.
The 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.