28 October, 2020

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From The Final Nail In The Coffin To The 19A

By M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

Five years ago, on the 8th of September, 2010, the lot fell on me to open the Debate for the Opposition on the Eighteenth Amendment and I remember the words that I spoke then. I said, “Within six months of me coming into Parliament, I am confronted with this Bill, which was a final nail on the coffin in which democracy had been laid in this country for some time”. On that day, I did not expect that another Bill like the Nineteenth Amendment would be presented to the same Parliament within the period of five years, within the same term of office as a Member of Parliament for myself, wherein that Amendment would be repealed. So, this is indeed a momentous occasion, even personally for me, to speak on this Nineteenth Amendment. One must place on record how this Amendment came to be. Many people are under a misapprehension that all of this started with the Presidential Election, from about November, last year. No, that is not true.

From the time the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, along with the passage of time, there was an agitation from all the progressive forces in this country to abolish the 18th Amendment; to have it repealed.

The Minister, Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, would recall that there was a monthly movement after the Eighteenth Amendment was passed. Every month on that day there was a meeting. The Hon. Minister would also recall that.. prior to that, when the 17th Amendment and the Constitutional Council became non- functional, people took various efforts to get it moving; to get it working and the Hon. Minister, I remember, came to the Supreme Court every time the case with regard to the Constitutional Council came up. There were civil society leaders who were very concerned about the direction in which the country started moving since the Eighteenth Amendment and, most notably, the Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero who led a movement called the “National Movement for Social Justice” identified the Executive Presidential System as the root cause of this wrong direction in which the country was moving.

The Executive Presidential System is something that this country has been waiting to abolish quite for quite some time, from the early 1990’s. The 1994 Election Manifesto of the PA Government and every election thereafter – as His Excellency the President enumerated yesterday when he spoke on this – everyone wanted to abolish the Executive Presidency and also they said they would, but when they came to office they did not do it.

President Maithripala Sirisena became the common Opposition Candidate after the agenda – if I might call it – of the democratic forces, progressive forces and the civil society of this country had all converged to identify two very important issues: one, the abolition of the Executive Presidency; and two, repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution and restore the independent commissions that were functioning under the Seventeenth Amendment. The Hon. Leader of the House just stated that when the Seventeenth Amendment was passed, 223 Members voted for that; no one voted against. That is the only Constitutional amendment approved by this House which did not have a single vote against it. Now, such an amendment that was widely accepted was thrown away by the Eighteenth Amendment. The whole movement for restoration of democracy was hinged on the abolition of the Executive Presidency. All the Left parties, I remember even last year at their party annual conventions, passed resolutions to abolish the Executive Presidency; to abolish it in toto. That is the wave that brought the common Opposition Candidate to the fore, and when he declared his candidacy he identified the Executive Presidential System as damaging and said “I will abolish it; I will bring back the Seventeenth Amendment and a few other things”.

Thereafter, when the Election Manifesto came out, it was stated that there was going to be a 100-Day Programme and whatever amendment to the Constitution that required a referendum in the process of abolition of the Executive Presidential System, will not be done. By that, it was very clear, what was being held out to the country was that whatever that did not require a referendum in the process of abolition of the Executive Presidency would be done within the 100 days. The 100 days passed a few days ago.

Nevertheless, we have a Bill, an Amendment to the Constitution, before this House which identifies these two issues for which His Excellency got a very clear mandate from the country: one, abolish the Executive Presidential System as far as it is possible without a referendum; and two, restore the Constitutional Council and the Independent Commissions as they functioned under the Seventeenth Amendment.

The matter was sent to the Supreme Court. There were arguments in the Supreme Court that the 19th Amendment affected the basic structure of the Constitution, because it was founded on the Executive being exclusively within the hands of the President; that the President was the sole repository of Executive Power. The Supreme Court said, “No, that is not the case”. The Determination is available. They even cited Article 91 of the 1972 Constitution – our First Republican Constitution – which states, I quote:

“The President shall be responsible to the National State Assembly for the due execution and performance of the powers and functions of his office under the Constitution and under other law, including the law for the time being relating to public security.” which is almost identical to Article 42 of the Second Republican Constitution, which states, I quote:

“The President shall be responsible to Parliament for the due exercise, performance and discharge of his powers, duties and functions under the Constitution and any written law, including the law for the time being relating to public security.”

In fact, the words, “under other law,” in the First Republican Constitution reads as “any written law” in the Second Republican Constitution. So, there was no change in the basic structure.

If, under the First Republican Constitution it was possible for the exercise of Executive Power of the State to be performed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister – that is how the Government functioned between 1972 and 1978 – then, it is possible even under the Second Republican Constitution that we have today, for the exercise of country’s Executive power to be performed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. That is the reason why in the Amendment to Article 43(2) states, “The President shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint from among Members of Parliament, Ministers to be in charge of the Ministries so determined” and two other Clauses where the phrase appears, “The President shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister” has been permitted by the Supreme Court to be passed without the necessity of a referendum.

The Supreme Court has struck down other provisions in the same Chapter, which envisaged the Prime Minister acting alone and the Court has said that cannot happen. But, it has specifically permitted the phrase, “The President shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister,” at least in three places. And, that is a promise that has been held out to the people to make an amendment in the direction of abolition of the Executive Presidency, to the extent that is permitted to be done without a referendum. So, it is before this House today for all of us to vote on; to do what the country wants us to do; a clear mandate that has been given on the first promise that the common Opposition Candidate and now the President, gave the people at the Election on the 8th of January, this year.

The question is: will this Parliament bow to the wishes of the people or will this Parliament, through a process of Committee Stage Amendments, seek to deny the people what has been promised and what has been held out in the gazetted Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution that the Supreme Court has allowed to be enacted with only a two-thirds majority? I am asking this question because the Government does not have a majority in this House and using that as a ploy, there is a move to bring in Committee Stage amendments that negate the entire crux of reducing the executive power of the President, which the President himself wants to do, which the people of this country have mandated him to do. And, if the Parliament were to try that even today, that will be a serious violation by the Parliament on the mandate granted by the people.

The second issue of the Constitutional Council, as I said, this Parliament enacted it without a vote against it; of a Council of 10 members: three ex-officio, chaired by the Speaker, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. All other seven persons are supposed to be persons who are not members of a political party. To be a member of a political party is a disqualification. That was so in the Seventeenth Amendment. That is so in the Bill before us. On both occasions, the Supreme Court has permitted it. So, we have two Determinations of the Supreme Court spanning over a period of 15 years where the Supreme Court has said: “This can be enacted; this does not require a referendum” and we have promised the people that whatever that does not require a referendum will be enacted by this Parliament. There is a move to bring in Committee Stage Amendments that make the composition of the Constitutional Council to be Members of Parliament. It is a disqualification to be a member of a political party. And, Members on this side of the House are now propounding a theory that Members of Parliament who are necessarily members of political parties and politicians, most active politicians, should sit in the Constitutional Council. So, the whole process, the whole objective of depoliticizing this body will be totally lost.

So, Mr. Presiding Member, may I urge my Colleagues, the Hon. Members of this House, that these are too crucial issues that are before this House, today. You leave one of those out and you do not have a Nineteenth Amendment, you lose it. Without the “Advice” Clause that the Supreme Court has permitted and without the Constitutional Council being the composition that has been put in the draft Bill before us, it will be taking the people of this country for a ride; we might pass something that is totally hollow which has no content in it.

I urge the Members of this House not to practice that deceit on the people of this country who are very, very clear in their minds as to what they want. They want an abolition of the Executive Presidential System. Well, if that cannot be done totally without a referendum, do it as much as possible up to the referendum, and nothing less. Restore the Independent Commissions through the process of a Constitutional Council that is depoliticized, that has no political influence. Therefore, I appeal to those who have been urging these Committee Stage Amendments through which you negate the whole exercise in which we were indulged in for the last two days, to desist from this and to act honorably and with good intent and pass the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which is eagerly awaited by all the people of this country.

Thank you very much.

*TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran’s speech on the 19th Amendment at Parliament on 28th April 2015

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Latest comments

  • 1
    16

    Oh dear;
    is it final nail in the coffin to Tamil aspirations….

    • 10
      2

      No its final nail for you to sit on.

    • 9
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      M.A. Sumanthiran MP

      RE: From The Final Nail In The Coffin To The 19A

      “I said, “Within six months of me coming into Parliament, I am confronted with this Bill, which was a final nail on the coffin in which democracy had been laid in this country for some time”. On that day, I did not expect that another Bill like the Nineteenth Amendment would be presented to the same Parliament within the period of five years, within the same term of office as a Member of Parliament for myself, wherein that Amendment would be repealed.”

      Thank you, Sir, for your warnings,and final support for repealing the 18th Amendment.

      Thank you all of you in your efforts to get 18A repealed.

    • 2
      2

      Make sure you sit on it.

    • 2
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      J.Muthu

      What does the wee Thmihz senior journalist D: Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon think(?)about SNP victory 56/59 in the recent elections in the UK and Cameron’s pledge of giving more devolved powers to Scotland?

      Does he/she/it think that Blood On Nicola Sturgeon’s Head & Her Hands is a curse of the Scots?

    • 4
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      J. Muthu

      Yes Sinkalam. The final Nail has been removed, the Coffin reopened to establish cause of Death.
      Believe me MRs DNA will be found after forensic examination. One further addition to the Charge Sheet for ICC.

      Then again who can blame you. You wont understand what a Charge Sheet is or what ICC is.

      You might think it is the list of players in the Indian Cricket Club from Mumbai. Ask the dodgy baller who plays for Mumbai Indians.

  • 12
    4

    The final nail on Labour backed loony lefty diaspora of jaffna tamils. When will they ever learn.

    Harrow East election result: Tory Bob Blackman doubles majority to retain seat.
    In reality the former Brent council leader built on his 3,403 majority from five years ago to retain the seat despite being dragged over the coals for his expense claims this year.
    Ms Kumaran, (Labour)a political aide to Islington Council leader Richard Watts and a volunteer hospital radio presenter, said the campaign had been “deeply personal”.
    “I have not thought past tonight. This is my home and I’m not planning on going anywhere.”
    She can speak most European languages but Indians with 487 million speakers of Hindi equals 508 million speakers of English world wide (inclusive of second language)

    Today he took 50 per cent of the vote to cement a majority of 4,757 as his crestfallen Labour rival vowed to return next time.

    Turnout was just under 70 per cent with 49,139 votes cast.

    No Brahman vote:
    The seat is one of the most economically and culturally diverse in the capital, with around a third of the electorate Gujarati Hindus and a large Jewish population.One source said:What Bob has done well in is getting the Hindu community to back him. He is seen as their man. NaMo right wing. “Cogito ergo sum”; I think, therefore I am.

    • 3
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      Ed got too chummy with We Thamizh hoping for the ethnic block vote and he’s out on his ass too – the curse of Demezh Eezham strikes again :D

      • 2
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        Wee Thamihz Senior Journalist Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

        “Ed got too chummy with We Thamizh hoping for the ethnic block vote and he’s out on his ass too”

        Promote reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka including through supporting the UN investigation into war crimes which the Pime Minister was instrumental in securing following his historic visit to Jaffna. – Conservative party Manifesto 2015.

        Since the conservative victory on 7th I suppose wee Thamihz are willing to eat their own humble pie or fall on their own sword.

        By the way wee Thamihz are known to place Each Way bets.

      • 5
        1

        Sinkala Sankaran Sarrmaa

        Themulu Thanuwatha.

        Ed got out for two reasons.

        He was too far to the left and stabbed his brother in his back like the Paksa brothers who stabbed each other for the spoils and look where MR has ended up . He is in Hambanthotta with only a Sarong and nothing up the top because America has made sure he cant enjoy the LOOT.
        Scottish Quest for Independence crushed Ed like the Tamil Tsunami crushed the Criminal Mahintha.

      • 0
        4

        Ed Miliband has proved inept, and there was no better example of it than when he issued a message for the Tamil New Year without realising that the Sinhalese also celebrate the event. A politician amateurishly fishing for votes. Irritating to us, but an example of ignorance rather than racism. Remember that Miliband has taken a consistently “anti-Israeli” line, and lost Jewish votes nation-wide, despite his totally Jewish background.

        That’s how our society lags behind Harrow in multiculturalism; I really would have liked to see a second U.K. M.P. with a Sri Lankan background being in the Commons (the other being Ranil Jayawardena). Let’s hope the latter proves more Sri Lankan than Sinhalese, although he’d be well-advised to be British before all else.

        So, I wish you well, for the next time, Uma Kumaran. Be happy in your adopted country, but try to get the wider world to have a balanced view of the country that your parents had to leave behind. Having written up to this point, I’ve spent ninety minutes “reading up”!

    • 3
      7

      Maratha – you must be a product a standardised education – 4,757 is double 3,403?

      Kumaran actually got more votes than the Labour candidate in 2010 – she increased Labour’s share of the vote by 3% whereas nationally Labour’s vote only increased by 1.5%.

      Never let the facts get in the way of your racism.

      • 0
        1

        “” you must be a product a standardised education “”

        poor men & women always whine and demography are the cause andy ando pando pandy show??
        She would lose again if nominated. Because labor has won more at London and she lost. Laughing Je pense, donc je suis; I think, therefore I am- Tory!! The economy is doing right. Too many immigrants at London and we need time to address diversity and a big no to immigration.
        London: The Tories(27 from 28) didn’t win everywhere: Labour increased (45 from 38) its number of seats in London in the General Election.

      • 0
        1

        “”Kumaran actually got more votes than the Labour candidate in 2010 “”
        She lost like the stupid JT.

        Look how clearly ethnics plays.
        Hampstead is where Chanel 4 John Snow lives too :
        Labour’s Tulip Siddiq won a nailbiting general election victory in Hampstead and Kilburn, the most marginal seat in mainland Britain in 2010. Ms Siddiq beat Tory candidate Simon Marcus by 1,138 votes to be elected Hampstead and Kilburn MP in place of retired Glenda Jackson.

        It was a marked increase in the gap between Labour and the Tories in 2010 when just 42 votes separated them.Ms Siddiq was elected with 44 per cent of the vote (23,977 votes) while Mr Marcus finished second with 42 per cent of votes (22,839).
        To live in Hampstead is to share cobbled streets and gourmet bakeries with the likes of Emma Thompson, Ricky Gervais, Peter O’Toole and Judy Dench. But the village’s place in the literary canon makes it one of the most historically evocative places in London. Keats lived next to South End Green, while an epic dinner party he, Charles Lamb and William Wordsworth attended in Hampstead became known as the “immortal dinner”. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray frequented opium dens here, while Bram Stoker’s Dracula features a famous description of the Heath. DH Lawrence’s 1916 poem Parliament Hill In The Evening is one of his loveliest. Kingsley Amis, Agatha Christie and poet John Betjeman were also residents.
        The density of blue plaques in all fields astounds: Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud and Edward Elgar are a tiny smattering of the luminaries from all fields who lived here.
        Hampstead was known for its health springs: in 1700, trustees of the spa-like and very fashionable Hampstead Wells began promoting the medicinal qualities of the chalybeate waters. Previously, the Vale of Health – a quiet area surrounding a pond – was thought to be an oasis from the Plague. The air certainly feels cleaner here.
        (Tulip Rizwana Siddiq, FRSA is a British Labour Party politician, former councillor in Regent’s Park and Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities in Camden Council. In May 2010, she became the first Bengali female councillor in Camden Council)

  • 9
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    you are one of few gentlemen in the parliament. please join the next Cabinet and contribute to development of the country.

    • 14
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      Vasu mania is difficult to takeaway form socialist it’s a faith that one cannot kill. New to Cinnamon Gardens does not help either.
      Have the SL lost faith in Iceland (main export and only 5% fish)??
      He wants to stop trawler fishing when the west has 3 options for safe trawler fishing. Ban means price of freely available protein diet (30g per 100g) and eat Hambantota Pumpkin seeds (30g per 100g) What is more any ban increases the price of the product and increase the no of cases that goes to coats plus politicians benefit- only he would know the loop hole in the law- how demanding??
      Ranil wants to shoot at sight Indian fishermen who are not permitted to carry GPS because of Islamist terrorism in the Indian Ocean.
      He is not cabinet rank and file just another lawyer in opposition who took up the opportunity and not a fluent speaker like the debating teams we see at elections worldwide.

    • 4
      0

      Its all the sinhala only `greed`by the bud_shity bandas.
      Never in racist Lanka can a minority be the leader.- 86% village nuts.

      Sinhala Tamil Muslim Lansi, of Lanka are the real racist not the Europeans.

      Former English Cricket captian born in Madras- Nasser Hussain

      Brilliant Pakistani origin man: Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Equalities since 2014.

      In The Times’ 2014 right-wing power list, Javid moved up 18 places to number 8, with the article stating that he had emerged “as the senior member of the 2010 intake” and that if “the Tories want to jump a generation, then a Javid leadership candidacy would provide the opportunity.”[22] The 2014 GG2 Power List ranked Javid as the most influential British Asian [23] and, at the accompanying GG2 Leadership Awards event on 5 November 2014, David Cameron described Javid as “the brilliant Asian man who I asked to join the Cabinet” and stated that “I want to hear that title ‘Prime Minister’ followed by a British Asian name.”[24]
      A ConservativeHome poll conducted in December 2014 marked Javid as the “Conservative to Watch in 2015”.[25] The responses to the survey were tested against a control panel supplied by YouGov, and Javid topped the poll, receiving 43% of the votes cast. In July 2014, Forbes magazine compared Sajid Javid to Barack Obama and suggested that Javid could become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.[26]

  • 3
    0

    Do our legislators ever stop to think what the world and other legislatures think of our own. Here we are with an enlightened
    piece of legislation vide the 17th amendment asking for the restoration of many features of a vibrant and participatory democracy. This has been the clamour of the entire country.
    The House passes it. And then comes the notorious Rajapakse family,
    who remove all those democratic features and thrust the 18th amendment on a group of dummies in the majority, so that they can carry on what has become known as familial rule to time infinite. We could not believe our eyes when the majority of our dummies passed that too.

    What happened to the honour, integrity and learning of our legislatures we saw in previous parliaments in the relevant debates.
    When JRJ presented his 1978 Constitution giants like NM, Colvin, Bernard, Pieter rose against it present cogent legal arguments.
    Am I not right in saying most of our legislators in the present parliament do not understand even what an ordinary Bill is. With Kudu Mervin, Kudu Duminda and that hack Weerawansa who said Google and Internet were harmful to the country and a whole of others, our Parliament has become a Congress of Hyenas.

    Kettikaran

    • 0
      0

      Kettikaran – The constitution of the country is shred into pieces by
      successive govts. and parliamentary rule is no longer possible and only
      one man rule or a military rule is open to the public of Sri Lanka.

      There is no guarantee that the legislation 19A will remain intact, as which ever govt. comes to power in the future can interpret it in a way to suit their agenda by 2/3 majority, which can always be found with intimidate tactics and constitution is there for further shredding
      as voters are for parliamentary democracy where as the politicians are
      for executive presidency, which is not usually found on their party manifestos before the elections. Did Ranil ever tell his uncle JR that he was governing under dragonian rules. How come it dawned on him so
      late in his political life that Executive presidency rule is not the type of rule, fit for Sri Lanka.

  • 9
    0

    I’m inspired by Mr. Sumanthirans ability to act constructively in parliament while at the same time be an eloquent speaker for Tamil interests. He has a very principled position when it comes to supporting the OISL and truth and justice for Tamils, but at the same time he always votes in favor of progressive, good governance reforms. The 19th amendment isn’t going to change much with regards to the existential issues the Tamil people are facing, but it will make a huge difference in Colombo. It will move the GOSL away from family based administration where thugs like Duminda Silva enjoy impunity. This is the essence of being a statesman: Always look for win-win scenarios; Do the most good with the little influence and power you have, but at the same time be a principled and ethical advocate for the people who elected you into office in the first place. I’m going to follow Mr. Sumanthirans example, and in my own mind, separate the two issues of reforming the GOSL, and justice for the NE. I know a lot of people don’t support the latter issue and would prefer it if the OISL never releases their report. That shouldn’t deter me from supporting good democratic reforms for the GOSL.

  • 1
    2

    MAS,

    “I urge the Members of this House not to practice that deceit on the people of this country who are very, very clear in their minds as to what they want.”

    In case you don’t know common people very rarely get what they need and want. That is the sad truth all over the world.

    What to do now? To increase “non-cooperation” with Colombo despite the needs of the Northern Tamils?

  • 5
    0

    M.A.Sumanthiran.

    Perhaps,you may not be aware that it was Comrade Bahu who alerted the nation of the ills of the Executive Presidential system way back in in 1978 when JR introduced this.Perhaps,you would have been not even a Law student then.So therefore your contention that the country was waiting to abolish this from the early 1990s is like that famous Latin dictum amounts to suppressing the Truth and Projecting the False.

  • 5
    3

    Sumanthiran’s speech here is apolitical and made in the interests of the whole nation.

    Sirisena should appoint him as the next Prime Minister not only because he is intelligent, educated and uncorrupt but also because it will show that Sri Lanka is now a non racist inclusive society.

    • 0
      1

      Piranha – Think that you have gone a little too far in your comment as you know very well what happened when CBK tried to promote Mr. Laxman Kadirgamar as PM. Mr. Sumanthiran can fit into the Justice minister position if TNA accepts ministerial positions, after the elections but
      there will be opposition from govt. benches and he may be offered Life stock & estate infrastructure & Hindu affairs. They may even go the extent to say that the CJ being a Tamil, Mr.Sumanthiran may connive with him.
      Please also remember his own people burned his effigy in Jaffna of all places, when he wanted TNA to coop. with the Govt. This is politics in
      in Sri Lanka, my friend.

  • 1
    0

    When and how can you become our leader and solve our problems by democratic means?

    • 2
      0

      “When and how can you become our leader and sole our problem by democratic means?”
      That will happen when we wake up to realise that we are humans and not simply hewers of wood and drawers of water and decide to face the realities of the situation we are in.

    • 3
      1

      Thamilan

      Nam Thamilar

      You have to ask Sivaperuman. When Amirthalingam met him Sivaperuman started crying uncontrollably and told him that he is not sure if he will be around to see Tamil Problems resolved and even with the best will in the World Sumanthiran has only another 25- 30 years.

  • 2
    0

    Mr.Sumanthiran:

    I have read through your appeal to your fellow members and I am struggling to make sense of it.

    Let me break it down to its components and ask you a few questions.

    1)I am confronted with this Bill, which was a final nail on the coffin in which democracy had been laid in this country for some time”. On that day, I did not expect that another Bill like the Nineteenth Amendment would be presented to the same Parliament within the period of five years, within the same term of office as a Member of Parliament for myself, wherein that Amendment would be repealed. So, this is indeed a momentous occasion, even personally for me, to speak on this Nineteenth Amendment. One must place on record how this Amendment came to be. Many people are under a misapprehension that all of this started with the Presidential Election, from about November, last year. No, that is not true.

    *** What you are saying is that 19th Amendment started long before the Presidential Election. If it was true who started it and what was contemplated to be achieved. Who was the author of this Surely it cant be MR as his ambition was to have unfetted powers. So 19th Amendment falls by the wayside. My undersatnding was that 19th Amendment was to clip MRs wings.

    2) From the time the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, along with the passage of time, there was an agitation from all the progressive forces in this country to abolish the 18th Amendment; to have it repealed.

    *** You might be right about the above and this how things evolved

    The most progressive legislation introduced in Sri Lanka since the curse or disaster of the 1978 constitution was the 17th Amendment which was approved with all-party support.

    In terms of this amendment an all-party Constitutional Council was set up for the appointment of an Independent Police Commission, an Independent Elections Commission, an Independent Judicial Services Commission and an Independent Public Services Commission. At that time the ruling party did not have a potentially devastating 2/3rd majority in parliament and there were effective checks and balances for democracy to work in a manner that brought about a government of the people by the people and for the people. The 17th Amendment had its drawbacks, but it was working quite well for the common good of the people when the government took what many independent analysts saw as a disastrous decision. The 17th Amendment was scrapped and the 2/3rd majority of the patchwork United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government was misused to force the 18th Amendment down the throats of the people.

    An opposition critique recently described the 18th Amendment as an act of political terrorism. Most Independent analysts would agree with him. The 18th Amendment scrapped the constitutional council and the independent commissions by giving absolute power to the already too powerful executive presidency, thus opening the door for absolute corruption and other damaging consequences of a dictatorial position. Furthermore, it gave the Executive President the right to contest for any number of terms, though world history has shown that going on for too long could be dangerous and damaging to the country and the person concerned as seen for example in the case of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Widely regarded as one of Britain’s most powerful prime ministers, she decided to go on her third term until she was thrown out by her own party and ended up with dementia.

    We hope President Mahinda Rajapaksa will in his wisdom realise the dangers posed to democracy by the 18th Amendment, and that he will have the courage to restore democracy through the restoration of the 17th Amendment. Such would be the wisdom of a statesman.

    The Executive Presidential System is something that this country has been waiting to abolish quite for quite some time, from the early 1990’s. The 1994 Election Manifesto of the PA Government and every election thereafter – as His Excellency the President enumerated yesterday when he spoke on this – everyone wanted to abolish the Executive Presidency and also they said they would, but when they came to office they did not do it.

    *** I am sure you appreciate that the reason for that was the Civil War which I call Freedom Strugle.

    The momentum to abolish executive Presidency came into being after the Civilised and the Educated Sinhalese realised that MR has hijacked the Country and heading for disaster internationally.

    I have skipped most of what you have prophesed becaused as a Tamil I dont have much of a say in this.

    3) So, Mr. Presiding Member, may I urge my Colleagues, the Hon. Members of this House, that these are too crucial issues that are before this
    I urge the Members of this House not to practice that deceit on the people of this country who are very, very clear in their minds as to what they want. They want an abolition of the Executive Presidential System. Well, if that cannot be done totally without a referendum, do it as much as possible up to the referendum, and nothing less. Restore the Independent Commissions through the process of a Constitutional Council that is depoliticized, that has no political influence. Therefore, I appeal to those who have been urging these Committee Stage Amendments through which you negate the whole exercise in which we were indulged in for the last two days, to desist from this and to act honorably and with good intent and pass the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which is eagerly awaited by all the people of this country.

    *** I am intrigued by the above ( Paragraph 3)

    I take it that you are a Democrat and if that is the case I am sure that you will be the first to admit that the Majotity of the Majority voted for the retention of the Executive Presidential System. The Tamils voted to get rid of MR to stop the Rot and have not given any serious thought to the Long term benefits.You as a politician might derive some satisfaction but the Tamils are only interested in Devolution of Powers

  • 3
    1

    Mr.Sumanthiran:

    You are very close to the corridors of power in Sinhala Lanka and I shall appreciate your help in trying to unravel some of the Statements from Mr.Saamaraweera under the pretext of New Order and the attempt to deceive the World.

    1) I have tried to get answers from Mr.Samaraweera when he uttered the words that his armed forces never committed any War Crimes but no reply. When he has already cleared the Armed forces of any wrong doings even before the so called Inquiry has started how can we then have any confidence in the internal mechanism.
    2) The AG apparently advised GOSL that there is enough evidence to charge Gotha but he has been spared by RW. Is is because of the promise given by MS and RW that they will be protected whatever the Crime as they are viewed as War winning Criminals.

    In my view nothing has changed in Sinhala Lanka and nothing will ever change. If I dont hear from you I will assume that they are guilty as charged.

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    Tiger terrorists got their arses whipped in 2009. Now Tiger lovers got their banana leaves handed to them in British elections. Tiger apologists, realize eelam is a pipe dream gone down the ailmentary canal like after bad vadai and sambhur at Greenlands. work WITH moderate Sinhalese WORK with Sirisena, reduce backward casteism amongst backward low educated Tamils in N and E. Become progressive. Stop living 400 years behind rest of the world now that you have a chance to integrate, assimilate and prosper.

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      “2assimilate and prosper.””#
      [Edited out]

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      Lankans of all races are racist to the core- the war continues is the proof of the pudding- its hurting modarator CT Why So truth in your hat???

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    Mr Sumanthiran, Thank you for the article. We need people like you in the parliament for the sake of peace loving people of Sri Lanka. Elsewhere I read that there is a danger of not realizing 19th a reality, even-though it has been passed by the majority vote in the parliament. Because our speakers office is holding the bill hostage in his office without signing it saying that AG office didn’t send it to them( When the AG office has sent to for the Speakers signature long time ago). If he didn’t sign, 18th is still valid when the parliament is dissolved, 19th will not be effective and MR still can keep his hopes high( So does the danger to the president MS’s life). Do all the ministers in the parliament who voted for it, keep an eye on the progress of the 19th becoming a law, whether Chamal is really going to sign it or not. You all need to be vigilant about MR trying to rob the hard won victory by people.

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