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Rajapaksa eyeing three terms?

[Express Buzz, Thursday, 29 April 2010 10:54 No Comment]

The Mahinda Rajapaksa government plans to amend the Sri Lankan constitution to allow the President to hold office for three terms instead of two, as at present, Daily Mirror quoted an un-named senior Cabinet minister on Wednesday.

The minister said that the plan, to be executed within the next few weeks, was meant to give the government the much-needed stability for the implementation of major post-war development projects.

The Amendments, envisaged, would be in place before President Rajapaksa begins his second term in office in November this year, the minister added.

It is well known that the Rajapaksa government is wanting to amend the constitution to replace the present Proportional Representation System in elections, by a mixture of the Proportional and the First Past the Post systems.

Irrigation Minister Nimal Sripala de Silva has already said that the next local body elections, due in 2011, would not be held under the Proportional Representation System, which meant that by the time these elections come, the election law would have undergone a change. The Rajapaksa government also wants to modify the 17th Amendment which deals with the powers and functions of the Independent Commissions set up to oversee major state appointments.

The Lankan government hopes to remove elements, which create conflicts between the Independent Commissions and the powers of the Executive President.

Such amendments will be possible because the Rajapaksa government is only seven members short of a two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

The Rajapaksa government now has 144 MPs out of a total parliamentary membership of 225 (including the Speaker).

If the Speaker is not counted, the government will need 150 MPs for a two-thirds majority, which is required for a constitutional amendment.

The Lankan government is confident that seven or more MPs will support it at the critical time.

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