18 September, 2020

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Post Presidential Elections Possibilities & Probabilities 

By Rusiripala Tennakoon –

Rusiripala Tennakoon

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was returned as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka with an unprecedented majority in the last presidential election. He polled 1,360,016 votes more than his opposing candidate Sajith Premadasa. Beyond these demographics the result reflects another very significant phenomenon demonstrating something which remained apprehensive over a long period of time. Election of a President depended on the backing of all different voting groups and in particular depended heavily on the support of the minorities mainly due to the divergent political panorama that existed in the South. But this time the voting patterns clearly show that when the South decides to strongly back any candidate he could emerge victorious without depending on the minority communal/racist groups. While it is extremely bad to identify any group as a minority, the role played by the political parties that represent them invariably cause this damage due to their divisive and separatist  policies. The time has come for all of us to think in unison and mutual reciprocity among the communal groups to propagate a broader conception and emerge thinking as Sri Lankans. The country we live in belong to all of us. And the rights guaranteed to citizens are and should continue to be equal to all irrespective of any other distinctness. President Gotabaya will with his all-round exposures pave the way for this new thinking to succeed as he openly declared during his address to the Nation after the swearing in ceremony. 

Situation after elections

Post election situation appears to be blended with several controversies.

The term of the current parliament extends up to August 2020, ie. unless Parliament is sooner dissolved every parliament shall continue for five years from its first meeting  and no longer, and the expiry of the said period of five years  shall operate as a dissolution of the parliament”  ,

The Government in power, or to be more precise, the  ruling group with a simple majority in parliament, is from a different political party opposed to the President elect. According to the new constitution, under the 19th amendment, the earliest date by which the current parliament could be dissolved ,after a period of 4 years and 6 months of its existence by a Presidential proclamation is 2nd March 2020. 

In accordance with the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred on the President by the constitution New President has to make the Statement of Government Policy in Parliament at the commencement of each session of Parliament, Presiding at the Ceremonial sittings of Parliament.

According to the normal practice A Statement of Government Policy is subject to a debate in the Parliament following such a statement.

The President shall be a member of the Cabinet of Ministers and shall be the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers{ Article 42(3) of the 19th Amendment}

According to Article  42(4) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.

Under these circumstances, if the President does not appoint a New Prime Minister he will be the head of the current Cabinet of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. And if he chooses to make a Statement of Government Policy it will be a policy statement of that government. Isn’t this a highly controversial situation?

The Constitution before the 19th Amendment, under chapter XI, THE LEGISLATURE,(Procedure and Powers) Article 70 (1) (b)  states as follows;

“the President shall not dissolve Parliament on the rejection of the Statement of Government Policy at the commencement of the first session of Parliament after a General Election”

This section has dealt with two issues; about the possibility for the Parliament to reject a Statement of Policy and that the President shall not dissolve the Parliament on such a rejection. For it to get rejected the Parliament will have to debate it and subject it to a vote. This section has been repealed under the 19th Amendment. But there is a need to make a Statement of Policy at the commencement of the new session in terms of the constitutional provisions even after the 19th amendment.{Article 33(2) (a) and (b) of the 19th Amendment} 

With regard to the Dissolution of Parliament the available options are as follows;

1. At the expiry of the period of 5 years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer, this period of 5 years shall operate as a dissolution of Parliament;

2. When the President by Proclamation dissolve the parliament any time after four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting;

3. When the Parliament requests the President to do so by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of members (including those not present),voting in its favour;

It follows from this that unless the Parliament passes a resolution for an early dissolution this parliament will continue at least till 2nd march 2020. If the President decides not to dissolve it early under his powers the parliament can continue till August 2020.

Resignation of the PM and the Cabinet will not provide for a dissolution of the Parliament. It will only pave the way for the appointment of a New Government under a new PM during the same Parliament. The possibility of the continuation of such a government will depend on the support and cooperation to be extended by the majority in Parliament. It remains a question as to how such a  cooperation be secured. Unless there are maneuvers and planned stratagem with conditional bargaining it will be extremely difficult to maintain an equilibrium at least till the earliest date enabling a mandatory dissolution under Presidential powers.

The best option available in such a context would be, if the Parliament does not agree to pass a resolution for an immediate dissolution, to appoint a very small number of Cabinet of Ministers to a care-taker government and after the Government Policy Statement by the President made to the Parliament, to prorogue the parliament for a period of two months allowing the Care-Taker Cabinet to function to address the day to day affairs. The President has Power to by Proclamation to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament subject to other provisions in the constitution.

A Proclamation proroguing Parliament shall fix a date for the next session, not being more than two months after the date of the Proclamation (Article 70(3)). While the parliament stands prorogued, the President may by Proclamation – Dissolve Parliament subject to other provisions of this Article.

The country and the overwhelming majority of the voters has given a clear Mandate to the President to be the Head of the State, Head of the Executive and of the Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces by electing the President to hold office for a term of five years starting from 19th November 2019.(Article 30(1) and (2) of the 19th Amendment)

Country cannot be under the mercy of a Government rejected by the People. If the majority in Parliament fail to understand this reality and take appropriate steps to dissolve the parliament an alternate course of action with in the constitutional provisions has to be taken. The mandate the people gave to the President to be the Head of the Government has to be exercised in full. And if in the interest of the country the President has to take measures under the provisions of the constitution such steps will have to be taken forthwith if the circumstances compel. 

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Latest comments

  • 12
    7

    It will be the ‘KEEPING UP WITH the RAJAPAKSAS’ show from now on.

    a racist/ corrupt to the core family will appoint family members into all the important political and bureaucratic positions and this is another start of a 5 /10 /15 years of family dynasty in robbing Sri Lankan populace day in and day out.

    Let me tell all the young men and women in Sri Lanka – get a good education and skills and good English education and run away from your first chance from this cursed land of ours.

    There is not future for young men and woman.

  • 5
    3

    “The country and the overwhelming majority of the voters has given a clear Mandate to the President…………….. Country cannot be under the mercy of a Government rejected by the People. If the majority in Parliament fail to understand this reality and take appropriate steps to dissolve the parliament”
    Country went bankrupt in 2014 and Old King quit 2 years early because it was these types of pundits, for Ex. Mokan Peiris, have been interpreting the constitution in Old Royals’ time.
    Tennakoon could not understand the difference between the Presidential election and Parliament election and the way the 1978 constitution (+19A) looking at them. Constitution has nowhere said that only one party should be holding both branches at the same time. Neither has it restricted that the elections should held for both branches at the same time to synchronize their terms. Constitution is very comfortable, as it prescribe different methods to start and end the terms of both branches, two parties ruling the country at the same time. Further, two party Unity Parliament ruling may make Tennakoon‘s theorem more imbecile as the government will change its form when the winning party volunteers to make partnership with the lost one. In this complex circumstances Tennakoon having very real problem when to use the word “Rejected” to the ruling party in the Parliament, while only the Presidential election had taken place. Further Tennakoon has no knowledge of that a president is no longer an executive president, he has no power to dismiss Prime Minister nor have capacity to appoint Chief Justice. Can Tennakoon describe, then, what kind of authority is left with President to deal with Parliament? (He is just a bluffer!)
    “And if in the interest of the country the President has to take measures under the provisions of the constitution such steps will have to be taken “ What does that means anyway? Something like Mullivaaikkaal? Just go to hell in time before India, US & China come into the country by the ports they own.

  • 6
    1

    Poor Rusiri , just see todays news paper before you lament on your constitutional expertise. RW resigned and MR is PM. Looks like you are done with your economics/financial blabbering and now moved to an unknown area called constitution (if there is one ). At least you admit, that in your view Minorities are racist and not you. Rusiri, why do you think we Sorry Lankans are screwed for life.???? It is because of scum like you and Rajeewa , who distort facts and involve in false propaganda. Why dont you give your predictions on economy and constitution for coming four to five years from now. I am sure you will take up on this challenge and let all the viewers decide how good of an expert you claim to be .If not shut the F __ K up. By the way highest paid CEO in Australia is a Lankan Lady. People with true talent and hard work will make all Lankans proud and people like you ????? Go, get some classes on international financing . She is the new CEO of Macquarie Group.

  • 4
    0

    Rusiriapala:

    Beyond these demographics the result reflects another very significant phenomenon demonstrating something which remained apprehensive over a long period of time. Election of a President depended on the backing of all different voting groups and in particular depended heavily on the support of the minorities mainly due to the divergent political panorama that existed in the South. But this time the voting patterns clearly show that when the South decides to strongly back any candidate he could emerge victorious without depending on the minority communal/racist groups. While it is extremely bad to identify any group as a minority, the role played by the political parties that represent them invariably cause this damage due to their divisive and separatist policies.

    *** You are talking a lot of rubbish. The vast Majority of the Sinkalams voted for someone who himself is a born Racist . Can you tell me why we are not entitled to ask our basic rights. Just read the Indian Papers and their message to Mr.Modi is clear. 2 issues dominate.

    1) Indias Security and how Gotha plays his China Card . If he goes too far it will be to Sri Lankas Detriment.
    2) The Tamil issue and India will deliver the 13 demands put forward by TNA.

    There is no going backand that will be Gothas Leagacy by default

    Gotha said yesterday to Pro LTTE Politicians Talk sense or Shut up. At least tyey have a Choice .
    Gothadoent hava a choice and he is talking Non Sense . He has to Shut Up and Put Up.

  • 4
    1

    The author reflect the same mentality of the typical MR’s support base i.e. everyone not in their side is a racist, separatest, terrorist. What right he have to describe the Sri Lankans living in North and East as racist, because of they overwhelmingly voted for their preferred Sinhala Buddhist candidate?. These 3rd class opinion makers are the root cause of the problem this this country is in today. How can one expect Tamil and Muslims to act as true citizen of this country after this kind of branding, just because they practice their Democratic right in an election.

  • 1
    1

    15th amendment, 18 and 19th amendments are constitutional Frauds for self aggrandisement of politicians.

  • 2
    1

    Possibilities… Plenty for sure,
    We should thank Dr Ranil and his crooked Lot for providing not only this once in a Life Time Opportunity of uniting Seven Million inhabitants .
    But but also giving them a clear picture of what damage the Crooked Politikkas have done to their Country, its Economy and its Security.

    Now the same 7 Million must get more motivated to eliminate the crooks from the Political Landscape And ensure they pick the next generation of Leaders who will take care of their future and their Children and Grand Childrens’ future as well..-

    The Seven Million must scrutinize every candidate who will coming along in three months asking for thetr Vote.
    That scrutiny must include how much they and their families have raked in doing politics.
    And what allegations thy are facing with respect to Corruption, Insults to Religions, Integrity their Language ,and their Patriotism..

  • 2
    0

    Some Possibilities are
    Release all political and uncharged prisoners immediately, starting with the Tamils.
    As racists will complain, at the same time ban animal sacrifices in Kovils and elsewhere, close the zoo, ban the use of elephants in peraharas.
    Return all Tamil property in the North and East to their rightful owners and try and win Tamil hearts.
    Use every opportunity to teach children the similarity between Sinhalas and Tamils in their history and religion. TV contests for Sinhalese speaking in Tamil and vice versa. Tax breaks for mixed marriages. Ask the public for more ideas.

    Probablities are
    None of the above.

  • 0
    0

    Sri Lanka should have education to promote Self employment particularly business, writing business reports and creating business ideas. See, Indians are poor and very imaginative and inventive. Sri lanka wants to import every thing. Fertilizer imports should be imports. Free money should be used to subsidize PAddy or rice production. agriculture whether it is Rice, vegetables or tree plants should be under one ministry but several different Secretaries. PEasant farmers should be grouped to process paddy and rice and Instead of Wheat, rice, , other grains, yams and legumes should be promoted. It is simply old style agriculture and food. Technology also sustainable and carbon free technology should be promoted. Sri lanka has high salaries and perks. That raises the cost of production. See how China is promoting manufacturing. IT is the same, upto a certain extent in India. Only limitation our imagination.

  • 0
    0

    First Sri lankan peasant farmers should be protected. It they die with rotten kidneys. when there will be a war Sri lanka will lose once the ship is sunken. Then we can have lot of money, cars and big houses. but, if our children are destroyed culturally, discipline wise, and if they are druggies or gamblers, drunkards, that money won’t be useful. They all talk about Science and Technology. Even Arts can be useful once it is highly diversified. Some of the Sri lankan post graduate in the Arts fields (those days) were very useful in the world.

  • 2
    0

    Meanwhile within few days of been selected the “Strongman” deploys military in couple of provinces. Things will become worse as the head of the state pressure increases. What else can the people expect from the Ex. Military officer. Hail Gotler.

  • 2
    0

    Rusi, the great constitutional lawyer has spoken. Do we need to say more? We remember what you said during 52 day period. Supreme Court thought otherwise. Hope courts will have courage to continue.

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