Written by Staff Writer
11 Jan, 2019 | 8:17 pm
Colombo (News1st) – The expert committee report on constitution proposals was tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when the Constitutional Assembly met today.
Parliament convened as the Constitutional Assembly this morning to formulate a new constitution. A Steering Committee and 06 Sub-Committees were appointed to prepare a draft constitution.
The Prime Minister presented a report prepared by a Panel of Experts (POE) for the Steering Committee, which is based on the Interim report, six sub-committee reports and representations made by political parties on drafting a new Constitution. Suri Rathnapala, Austin Pulle, A.M. Nawarathne Bandara, Selwakumaran, Kumitha Gunarathne, Kapila Perera, Suren Fernando, Niran Anketell, Ashok Gunawardena and Chamindri Saparamadu were appointed to the Panel of experts.
According to the POE’s report, the legislature will be divided into two parts, the Parliament and the Second Chamber. 233MPs will be elected to serve a 5-year term in Parliament while the Second Chamber will consist of 55 members. 140 MPs will be directly elected from electorates while Provincial Councils will receive the power to select 76 MPs.
The report calls for the Executive Presidency to be abolished. According to the report, Parliament will have the power to appoint the President, and the president will be appointed with not less than one-half of the total of the whole legislature. The President who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces will be accountable to Parliament.
The document adds that the president can be taken to court over matters pertaining to fundamental rights and writ petitions. The president appointed by parliament will serve a 5-year term.
The POE report notes that a cabinet which is collectively responsible to parliament should be appointed. The Cabinet will be headed by the Prime Minister. The PM will be the person in Parliament who has the trust of a majority of the members. However, if a political party wins a majority of seats in parliament, and a prime ministerial candidate has been named while the party was facing the elections, there is no requirement to look into the opinion of a majority in parliament.
The Prime minister will be able to hold office until the next election is held and a new prime minister is appointed.
The number of cabinet ministers should not exceed 30 and the Prime Minister will function as the head of the cabinet. The Prime Minister is vested with the power to assign the number of ministries to ministers and subjects to the cabinet ministers. The report also refers to certain provisions for referendums at a provincial level.
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