The increasing momentum in the civil society for calls to abolish Sri Lanka’s Executive Presidency marked a milestone today, as politicians representing various opposition parties participated in the launch of the ‘Road Map’ to abolish the Executive Presidential System and reactivate the 17th amendment by the National Movement for Social Justice headed by Maduluwawe Sobhitha thera.
The event that was held today was attended by the most unlikely of figures to convene together to which included former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran, JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi and the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
With just months left for the next Presidential elections, Maduluwawe Sobhitha thera who is rumoured to be the most likely Common candidate at the upcoming elections said, “The present constitution is being rejected by the masses each day and the calls to abolish the Executive Presidency have been made not just by politicians but also religious leaders due to the increasing crises that have plagued the country due to unlimited political power being concentrated in the hands of a single individual.”
Senior legal practitioner and constitutional law expert Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne speaking of the ‘Road Map’ that was launched today said they are not calling for mere promises of abolishing Executive Presidency, but for a system where the newly elected President should abolish the Executive Presidential system within six months of being elected.
“A legal draft of the proposed plan should be presented instead of simply including it in the election manifesto of the Common Candidate,” he said adding a ‘rainbow alliance’ needs to be established in order to effectively implement the ‘Road Map’ as planned.
Meanwhile, Head of Department of Law – University of Peradeniya Dr. Deepika Udagama speaking on Constitutional amendments and the Executive Presidency said there is no argument on the fact that Executive Presidency should be abolished and added as for constitutional reforms, she is strictly against ‘tinkering with the constitution’.
“There is a need for effective Constitutional changes to be implemented upon consultation with the masses, instead of the amendments remaining the exclusive subject of the people’s representatives,” she said.