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Lanka to amend the Constitution

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 2 February 2010 15:02 No Comment]

The new Sri Lankan parliament to be elected by April this year would turn itself into a Constituent Assembly to draft a fresh Constitution for the country to replace the present one, The Nation Weekly reported on Sunday.

Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene was quoted saying that the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would go to the people in the coming parliamentary elections seeking a two-thirds majority to get a mandate to redraft the Constitution as per the principles enunciated in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2010 Presidential election manifesto. The paper said that the new parliament would turn itself into a Constituent Assembly the way the House of Representatives did in 1970, for drafting a new constitution that came into force in 1972.

Presidential powers to be clipped: If Rajapaksa has his way the new Constitution will have several new features. Firstly, the President’s powers will be clipped. As Rajapaksa said in his 2010 manifesto: “The Executive Presidency will be converted into a trusteeship that honours the mandate given to parliament by being accountable to parliament; establishes equality before law; is accountable to the judiciary; enacts laws that are accountable to the judiciary; and is not in conflict with the judiciary.” The President will lose his power to dissolve parliament after one year, as is the case now.

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