19th Amendment : A promise fulfilled

19th Amendment : A promise fulfilled

19th Amendment : A promise fulfilled

Written by Staff Writer

28 Apr, 2015 | 11:16 pm

President Maithripala Sirisena pledged to let go of executive powers even before the Presidential election.

Let’s take a look back at the President’s journey towards the passage of the 19th amendment.

On the 21st November 2014, initiating a revolution in Sri Lankan politics, Maithripala Sirisena, one of the seniormost ministers in the UPFA government, and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, entered the Presidential race as the Common Candidate.

At the first media briefing convened in Colombo as the Common Candidate, he made a pledge to the nation.

He said that he request the beloved people of this country, to entrust power to him, to abolish the Executive Presidency which has destroyed fairness, justice, law, ethics, democracy and freedom within 100 days.

On the campaign stage too, Maithripala Sirisena re-iterated the promise to abolish the limitless powers of the Executive Presidency.

Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena unveiled his election manifesto, including this promise on the 19th of December 2014.

Securing the support of parliament to abolish the Executive Presidential System and establishing an executive that is accountable to parliament via the cabinet of ministers, creating a new government structure, was a primary factor of this manifesto.

In the manifesto, he pledge to enact amendments to the constitution that can be passed without a referendum.

Maithripala Sirisena received 6 million 217 thousand 162 votes, and was elected President of Sri Lanka with a majority of 449 thousand 72 votes non 9th January 2015.

In his initial address at Independence Square, after taking oaths as the 6th Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, re-iterated that he would fulfill the promise made to the people.

President said that they will ensure that they will carry out the tasks mentioned in the 100 days through their election manifesto, to give this country the social and economic transformation it needs adding that he has no intention of contesting for another term as President.

Fulfilling the promise made to the people, the draft of the 19th amendment to the constitution, was placed before Public Representatives.

When the Bill was perused by the Supreme Court, it was determined that clauses which confer powers of the Executive President on the Prime Minister, must be adopted with a referendum.

Respecting the determination of the Supreme Court, the President introduced provisions in the 19th amendment, which would curtail powers of the Executive President, which do not require a referendum.

Although leaders have pledged on several prior occasions to let go of powers vested in the Executive Presidency, upon being elected to power, they had shown a lack of enthusiasm towards fulfilling the promise.

Although the 13th and 17th amendments did curtail Executive Powers somewhat, the most significant changes have been made through the 19th amendment.

Among leaders who attempt at every turn to consolidate their power and protect their position, doesn’t President Maithripala Sirisena stand out, because of his steadfast resolve to sacrifice both power and position for the people?

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