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No abolition of presidency: Rajapaksa

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 15:05 No Comment]

Backtracking from his stand that the powerful Executive Presidency should be replaced by a parliamentary system headed by an Executive Prime Minister, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Monday that he never sought the abolition of the Exeutive Presidency.

“I never said anywhere that the Executive Presidency should be abolished.But I would like to be in parliament,” Rajapaksa said in Hakmana on Monday.

“I spoke to Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe (the Leader of the Opposition) and explained our programme to him.I did not say that the Executive Presidency should be abolished,” Daily Mirror quotes him as saying.  

Apart from wanting to sit in parliament (presently, he can address parliament only occassionally), the President said that the constitutional change must include the right to switch parties. He recalled that his own party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), was formed because its founder, SWRD.Bandaranaike, left the United National Party (UNP).

The opposition UNP, led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been asking for the abolition of the Executive Presidency. According to media reports, Rajapaksa had agreed to discuss this on the grounds that the SLFP had itself told the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) on constitutional reform in 2007, that  it preferred a Westminister style parliamentary system.

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