Colombo Telegraph

The Reality Of The 20th Amendment To The Constitution

By Thameera Hiniduma Liyanage –

Thameera Hiniduma Liyanage

JVP has been presented 20th amendment to the constitution, and it is in the parliament agenda. The political parties, politicians and the civil society have good opportunity to discuss the amendment while argue in the parliament. The amendment is being explicit aim to abolish the executive presidency. What are the citizens expect from the 20th amendment? Are they really need abolish the executive presidency? The republic of Sri Lanka is a unitary state. People Sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. Article 4A states that our executive power, including the defence of Sri Lanka, shall be exercised by the president of the republic elected by the people.

Mr JR Jayewardene, who is the Sri Lanka first president and first elected president. Mr Jayawardana, who won the 1976 general election with 5/6 majority. Before parliament election Mr Jayewardane had sought mandate to make new constitution. In 1970 Samagi Pramuna government led by the late Ms Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who also faced the first insurgency in the country. I personally believed that Sri Lankans did not expect new constitution at that time. They suffered with hungry, health and Human rights issues. people literally changed the Samagi Peramuna government. They have no idea what is going to happen next. Mr Jayewardene, who needed political stability, because of the make better economy.  He wanted to build Sri Lanka as a Singapore. Accordingly, he introduced the executive presidency with new constitution. Dr NM Perera utterly criticised and rejected the 1978 constitution. He addressed the all issues on his book. He said that If somebody “crazy” who elected, he will destroy the country. Sri Lankan had already elected 5 presidents. People know what they have done to the country.

We have functioned 42 years this constitution, and the constitution is supreme as well. Nobody can argue Sri Lanka was in the political instability in last 4 decades. If MR hadn’t had political stability, how would have defeated the terrorism in the country? On the other hand, He failed to develop the country after the war. He encourages to fulfil his henchman dreams. He missed use the executive powers without control and limit. He took parliament and judiciary for his control. What is the MS doing at the moment? He also doing same thing with different manner. Recent example, He dissolved the parliament in 2018, and he exaggerated I have power to do that. Supreme court decided that the decision not within the constitution. All presidents were done the same thing. We people who are not get anything with this system.

President shall appoint the Governors to the provincial council. They have discretionary powers too. Seven of PC had automatically been dissolved. They are not functioning at the moment. Provincial Council is a “white elephant”. Sri Lanka PC system is corrupted. The new constitution proposed to devolve more powers and function to the provinces. Current system showing horizontal and vertical fiscal imbalances. This constitution provides more expenditure responsibilities than revenue raising powers to the provincial Council (Vertical imbalance), and Horizontal imbalances occur due to relative differences in economic strength of Provinces because of uneven development (e.g., Uva would require substantially more financial support than the Western Province) or other causes such as underdevelopment and destruction due to conflict (e.g., the Northern and Eastern Provinces would require special arrangements to overcome the economic legacy of the war). Parliament should be more powerful. Parliament should be appointed the Governors to the PC. There is no any risk or threat for the unitary state if we abolished the presidency.

All party leaders have agreed to abolish the executive presidency. Supreme court clearly expressed with his determination regarding the amendment.   Not only parliament should pass the 2/3 majority but should go referendum as well. The brilliant clarity of that judgement. What parliament need to do is passed the amendment and bring forward to the people. MS promised with his manifesto to abolish the executive presidency, and He promised before the Ven Madulawawe Sobitha funeral. He has moral and legal binding to support the 20th amendment to be successful.  He has to stop work with his personal agenda. Sri Lankans are suffering and live with hardship. Rarely do we see that type of presidents as braking as their promises.

Sri Lanka society already spoiled. We have to make the new system. If we were wanting to change the system, we should abolish the executive presidency for first instance. consequently, all powers bring back to the parliament. Then 225 members have freedom and more strength  to work for the people.

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