22 June, 2024


Why Ranil Should Be Appointed As Prime Minister Not Sajith?

By Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

I am not an enthusiastic supporter of Ranil. But, right now, any right-minded citizen knows that the struggle to protect Constitution at this very moment, is narrowed down to one single point, which is to get Ranil appointed as Prime Minister. President has insisted that he will never appoint Ranil as P.M. After Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, told to media that President has the power to appoint the Prime Minister and that H.E has firmly decided not to appoint Ranil as P.M. even though he commands the confidence of the Parliament, I decided to go through the relevant clauses of the Constitution, in order to understand this point by myself as a non-legal ordinary person.

I have observed that many legal luminaries and other intellectuals such as Dr. Nalin De Silva have reiterated the same point insisted by Mahinda Yapa. What is the exact position about it? There cannot be two truths on one single point. I have decided to investigate about it.

The relevant clause of the President’s power to appoint a Prime Minister has been defined in clause 43(3) under the Chapter 8 of the Constitution. I quote it below:

“43(3) The President shall appoint as Prime Minster the Member of Parliament who in his opinions is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.”

How do you understand this clause? I do not see any unambiguity on this clause or in other words, there is no more than one genuine interpretation in regard to this clause of the constitution. 

This clause cannot be defined as “President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who he wishes.” Therefore, there is no discretionary power vested on the President to appoint the Prime Minister. Yet, the President can and must make an opinion in regard to whom He shall appoint as Prime Minister. But his opinion must be subjected to a certain important condition, which is, that the Prime Minister so appointed should be able to command “the confidence of Parliament.”  What does this mean?

This means that you may remove the phrase “in his opinions” to get the practical application of this clause; so, it should be read as “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.” The most insignificant phrase used in clause 43(3) is “in his opinions.” I guess that the words “in his opinions” are added to this particular clause to add a certain kind of curtesy. Therefore, the President must make an opinion based on evidence. If majority of members of parliament submit sworn affidavits that they have the confidence in Ranil as Prime Minister, President has no choice other than appointing him as P.M. If Mahinda has the majority support of members of the Parliament, President must appoint him as P.M.

This means that even if Anura Kumara or Sampatnahan can prove that he commands the confidence of Parliament, the President must appoint him as P.M. If president does not do it, he violates the constitution and ethics. 

The bottom line is that in appointing a Prime Minister the President must execute the will of the Parliament not his personal will. Any fight for this interpretation will be to protect the constitution.  

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Latest comments

  • 3

    WOW, Bond Scam thief cum instigator should have been in the jail three and half years ago. I think it is the Human rights loving, Democracylovimg US and UK wanted the thief to run the country. so,he can sell it to westerncompanies. So, they want him again the PM.

  • 47

    Yes, Ranil is a senior, well experienced, matured parliamentarian well accepted worldwide. He is best suited to lead our country.

    • 0

      I, too, vouch for this statement based on the fact that at present he ‘commands the majority support in the parliament’ and H.E. has no other option, but to reappoint Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe as PM till the expiry of his original term of office. On four successive occasions it has been proven in Parliament that he commands the majority, and, therefore, no other matter or ‘opinion’ may be introduced by His Excellency to appoint another which will directly contravene the
      Constitution. ( The President has already expressed that he will abide by the Constitution and parliamentary procedures when a vote is taken electronically). We trust he would honour the pledge given to the house.

  • 46

    This is a very sensible interpretation of the consititution. The president is an ordinariliy educated lier and someone should clearly explian this to him word by word.
    This should be communicated to all the ordinary people. people do not have an intellectual capacity to understand this clause.

  • 4

    You are making an image of a ;

    Read the following. Don’t ever assume that people are naive to believe that Ranil Sriyan Wickramasinghe is fit to be the PM of Sri Lanka ever again.

    “This means that even if Anura Kumara or Sampatnahan can prove that he commands the confidence of Parliament, the President must appoint him as P.M. If president does not do it, he violates the constitution and ethics.” Humbug,

    “PRESIDENT KUMARATUNGA: I was forced into it by a total breakdown of cohabitation in government. The Prime Minister (Ranil Wickremesinghe) was determined to harass me and chase me out. He has only one obsession: he wants to be the President. And he does not seem to care what happens to the country in the process. We came to an impossible impasse. The only way to resolve it was to ask the people for a mandate. —TIME’s Alex Perry at President’s House in Colombo, March 29, 2004.”

    Isn’t it similar to what President Sirisena said to the nation by sacking the Sngel that you have attempted to create. My dear fellow country comes first and the dreams of vile politicians come last.
    Kumaratunga’s assessment was in 2004, the man has not reformed at all. He repeated his ugly behavior and pursued anti-nation policies vigorously with the help of many hidden hands.

  • 29

    Well said Hema. This kind of explanation is the need of the hour. Grade 10 educated MY3 will dig his own grave 6 feet under very soon. He will be only one term President or less. Or Rajapaksa will have to do the unfinished business of digging the grave 6 feet under for him.

    • 2

      Oh! Not grade ten, but grade eight according to a news item!

  • 15

    Why don’t the TNA, UNP AND JVP combine form a new Government till the next Parliamentary election under the Leadership of Anura Kumara Dissanayake who always talks SENSE.

  • 18

    You are right, of course, Hema, but actually it is simpler than that. RW should be PM simply because

    – He is still legally the prime minister: his sacking was illegal and unconstituitional, not to mention grossly immoral since the President helped pass the 19th amendment and should know the intention behind it, no matter what the wording.

    – The president or head of state of any country is supposed to appoint the leader of the party who commands the majority in parliament as the prime minister. It is obviously immoral to try to pick and choose the PM from another party, no matter what the constituition says.

    Finally, what the constituition SHOULD say is “The president shall appoint as prime minister, THE LEADER OF THE PARTY WHICH in his opinion commands the majority in parliament”. As it does in many countries where there is a prime minister.

  • 15

    I would think that there are at least a handful of sane men left in the SLFP who could get some sense in to this president’ s head in this dark hour. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sarath Amunugama, Tissa Vitharana… it is time YOU put aside your political differences and YOU DID SOMETHING FOR YOUR COUNTRY. Otherwise you too will be classed by the people the same as Weerawansas and S B Disanayakes…

  • 6

    The problem with President Sirisena is that he has a stupid notion that he as President is above the Law and the Constitution. The country is truly unfortunate in having someone like him as Head of State.
    Dr.Nalin de Silva has been categorised as an intellectual in this essay. He is nothing but an unrepentant Racist!

  • 4

    Thank you Hema Senanayake. We lay-Lankans, using commonsense, came to the conclusion that RW-sack was flawed. Subsequent actions by MS are ominous getting ominouser and ominouser by the minute. The MS vow “I will not allow RW back” is height of arrogance.
    It is far too early to bring Sajith into the fracas.

  • 0

    The crux of matter is that whom become Primer of UNP- Ranil.W.. or Sajith P… are irrelevant current catastrophes seeks the solutions !
    Both them are that politically corrupted, democratically unattended the task of bourgeois revolution,
    only follow the foot -path of money lending and paper currency politics back by Foreign interest .
    They are diverted from People’s of Parliamentary Sovereignty and created mad house in democrtiac institutions ,while working towards that jepozided system of democracy in Sri Lnaka.

    Writer has read whole set of unfinished democracy task had been betray by UNP leadership since 1948?

  • 0

    What happens if “in the opinion of the president” Mr. Mano Ganesan “is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”…?…or better still what if “in the opinion of the president” Comrade Vasudeva Nanayakkara “is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”…?

    It would all depend on whether parliament accepted it or not…!…in the current case the parliament did not accept it.

    So now if the president likes to cause more problems he can go on appointing people who “in the opinion of the president” are “most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”…until a NCM is held under standing orders to reject each one of them…

    This shows that this clause is an idiotic one brought in by incompetent person. It is the same with section 9 of the constitution which is grossly discriminative and sets the stage for violence as has been proven again and again and section 35 which gives the president blanket immuity to steam which the past president happily did….not to speak of past presidents who sliced commissions of airplanes and so on and so forth…

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