Written by Bella Dalima
24 Mar, 2015 | 9:14 pm
The draft 19th Amendment to the Constitution, was presented to Parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday. Views were expressed in Parliament regarding the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Opposition Leader, Nimal Siripala de Silva stated: A 2/3rd majority is needed in order to pass this bill. What we can see is that there are contradictions in certain clauses. We are uncertain if this bill will be approved through a public referendum if not this responsibility should be shouldered by the government because you stated that you would draft this bill in a manner that would gain support from the people. Just like you presented this bill as an emergency bill please fulfill President Maithripala Sirisena's promise on electoral reforms. An electoral system that is a combination of the first past the post system and a mixed electoral system. Please table this in Parliament immediately. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party has come to a firm decision that this bill will be passed together. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe said: We have agreed that this bill will be passed through a public referendum. The Attorney General has informed us that certain amendments need to be clearly defined and should be presented in court. Certain amendments need to be presented in court prior to tabling it in parliament. However, what we can see is that several petitions have been put forth in court. Therefore, the final decision with regard to the amendments will rest in the hands of the Supreme Court. Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero said: We presented this bill in a manner that does not hinder a public referendum. We faced numerous challenges which included the powers of the Executive Presidency which posed a threat to democracy, and had control of the judiciary as well as included dissolving parliament in a arbitrary manner. But the powers of the President and the Executive Presidency have been clearly defined in the 8th paragraph. The cabinet even made a decision yesterday. You cannot arrive at decisions in such a manner. There needs be discussions between our parties. Amendments to the constitution have been presented without such discussions.
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