Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P Perera says the conditions presented by the SLFP and certain other parties to vote for the passage of the 19th amendment are no longer valid, since the clauses of the 19A draft that contained major curtailing of Executive powers of the President will be omitted and presented when it’s taken up for debate in the parliament.
“The SLFP said they would only vote for 19A if it is presented concurrently with electoral reforms. However, that argument is no longer valid since the country will not be destabilized in any way as the upcoming constitutional amendment does not contain any major curtailing of powers of the President,” he said adding the original clause which declares the President as the Head of the government, state, the executive and the tri-forces still remain unchanged due to the Supreme Court verdict.
He said since the Supreme Court determination on the constitutionality of the 19A states certain sections of the draft, if need to be implement should be done so only upon holding a referendum such sections would be omitted since the manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena pledged that constitutional amendments that call for referendums would not be carried out.
The Minister said that presently, the only curtailing of the powers of the Executive powers of the President is through the clause that calls for the President to consult with the PM prior to taking important decisions such as the appointment of Ministers of dissolving the parliament.
“If the President and the PM are unable to reach an agreement, the matter will then be referred to the parliament,” he said while adding, “This however does not mean that the omissions have in any way hindered our aim of establishing and strengthening democracy and good governance in the country.”
He went on to state therefore, now neither the SLFP nor any other party has any grounds legally or ethically to oppose to the 19th amendment.