The originator and a figure who consistently lobbied for the Single Issue (abolition of the Executive Presidency ) Common Candidate concept – Professor Kumar David has called upon the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and all others backing Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena to withdraw their support unless he amends the manifesto immediately to include the abolition of Executive Presidency.
In an email, Professor David has condemned the absence of the promise to abolish Executive presidency in Sirisena’s election manifesto, which he has requested to be read at the NMSJ national conference that is due to be held on Tuesday (23).
“The people cannot and should not forget the treachery that they have been subjected to four times previously. I call upon the NMSJ and all others to withdraw support for Mr. Sirisena unless he amends the manifesto immediately. I strongly urge the public to accept no excuses for this betrayal,” he has written.
Meanwhile, Colombo Telegraph also learns that clashes and disagreements have erupted among those involved in the common Opposition movement over the wordings in Sirisena’s manifesto regarding the abolition of the Executive Presidency.
In the page 13 of the Maithripala’s manifesto says;
“It is the President who should provide the leadership to get the Constitutional Amendment approved by Parliament. I decided to contest the Presidential election as the common candidate of the people to complete that task.
We were unable to constitutionally change the Executive Presidential system that is in force since 1978 though we promised the people and the country to do so from 1994 up to date. Our inability to achieve that objective was a great failure on our part. It cannot be delayed any longer.
• Abolishing the Executive Presidential System with Unlimited Powers
The President needs the assistance of the Parliament to change the post of Executive President. That is because it is the Parliament which has the power to amend the Constitution. yet the Parliament was unable to effect this change for the last twenty years. It is the President who is the leader of the main party that should provide the leadership to pass the Constitutional Amendment with a two-thirds majority. For that the President should take the initiative to reach an accord among main political parties. It is to fulfil this task that I decided to come forward as the common candidate of all the people at this Presidential election.
I can obtain the support of the Members of Parliament of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that has the majority in Parliament. Also the United National Party has signed an agreement with me to effect this amendment.
The Janatha Vimukti Peramuna has agreed with our Party to do so since 1994. The Jatika Hela Urumaya has signed an agreement with me to support this measure. Therefore I will discuss with other parties and pass this amendment without fail within hundred days.
In order to change the Executive Presidential System I am taking as background material agreements for abolishing the Executive Presidential system reached by the Movement for a Just Society headed by Venerable Maduluwave Sobhitha Thera as well as the proposals contained in the Draft 19th Amendment compiled by the Pivituru Hetak Jatika sabhava headed by Ven Atureliye Ratana Thera which proposed a Constitutional alliance of the President and the Prime Minister. I will also consider the changes proposed to these proposals by the United National Party.
The new Constitutional structure would be essentially an Executive allied with the Parliament through the Cabinet instead of the present autocratic Executive Presidential System. Under it the President would be equal with all other citizen before the law. I guarantee that in the proposed Constitutional Amendment I will not touch any Constitutional Article that could be changed only with the approval at a Referendum. I also ensure that I will not undertake any amendment that is detrimental to the stability, security and sovereignty of the country. My amendments will be only those that facilitate the stability, security and sovereignty of the country.”
Read the full manifesto here