Written by Staff Writer
29 Apr, 2015 | 9:12 pm
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted with a two third majority in parliament on the night of Tuesday April 28.
The second reading of the bill passed with 215 votes in favour, while the third and final reading passed with 212 votes in favour.
The vote on the second reading of the bill on the 19th Amendment was held at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday night. While 215 MPs voted in favour, MP Sarath Weerasekera voted against.
Seven MPs were absent, while one abstained.
A tense situation arose at the commencement of the committee stage debate, prompting the speaker to adjourn the house for fifteen minutes.
The house convened fifteen minutes later for the committee stage debate.
During the debate, further changes which should be made to the bill were taken up.
Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that he submit the amendment that in spite of what is stated in the constitution, in the event of a National Government being formed there should be 45 cabinet ministers and 55 deputy ministers.
UPFA MP Chandrasiri Gajadeera noted that a clear definition is needed into this matter adding that in order to obtain an interpretation of the phrase National Government and what sort of government it would be, they will have to go to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Leader of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that space for the dissolution of parliament has been restricted and this clause must remain to enable the dissolution of parliament adding that through this clause you are preventing parliament from being dissolved until four years have passed.
Speaking further he said that they are against the four year limitation and are also against the extension to four years, adding that they cannot agree with that.
Leader of National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa pointed out that as they protect the rights of parties its also essential to protect the rights of MPs.
Speaking on the rights of MPs, Prof. G.L. Peiris said
If the political party authority has taken a decision without thinking of the MP and in violation of natural justice, then there must be some protection for the MP.
However, the vote on the third reading of the budget was conducted by name, through a roll call.
At the conclusion of the vote, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called it a historic occasion. He went onto say that they have ensured the people’s rights by establishing a presidency that is accountable to parliament through the cabinet adding that they have discussed all of this and 100 percent of all their hopes were not met.
Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said that they need a good electoral system.
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