The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a constituent of the United National Front for Good Governance led by the United National Party (UNP) will not support the 20th Amendment to the Constitution tabled by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the party’s National Organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told Colombo Telegraph.
The 20th Amendment seeks to abolish the Executive Presidency.
Warnasinghe said that the powers of the executive president were considerably reduced through the 19th Amendment and that since the presidency is now linked with the Parliament and Cabinet, no further amendment was necessary.
‘It is important to note that the JVP did not support Maithripala Sirisena’s presidential bid and did not received a mandate from the majority of the voters to abolish the Executive Presidency,’ Warnasinghe said.
He added that Sirisena’s manifesto clearly stated the intention to obtain a greater degree of democracy by reforming the office of the president, especially by doing away with certain arbitrary powers.
‘This was done through the 19th Amendment,’ he said.
‘We take serious note of the fact that those who advocate the abolishing of the executive presidency are silent on the 13th Amendment, a piece of legislation that makes the executive presidency a must.’
As of now the UNP has not officially stated its position on the 20th Amendment. Neither has the Sri Lanka Freedom Party or the Joint Opposition.
Warnasinghe said that there are certain people who want the executive presidency abolished for the sole reason that they are not confident of winning a presidential election.
‘We believe that it is fundamentally wrong to abolish the executive presidency or to enact legislation simply because one cannot win an election or because existing systems are obstacles to political advancement,’ he said.