Home » News

Rajapksa defends amendment move

[Hindu, Saturday, 4 September 2010 07:02 No Comment]

Amid growing criticism from the opposition and sections of the media, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has defended the decision of his government to amend the Constitution.

The amendments, which have been referred by the government to the Supreme Court for its opinion, are scheduled to be debated and voted in Parliament on September 8, 2010.

Given recent defections from the ranks of the opposition, the government, as of now, has the required two-thirds majority in Parliament. However, questions have been raised on the propriety of the President rushing through piecemeal changes.

The major focus of the debate has been the need for devolution of powers to the provinces. However, the package of amendments proposed by the government does not deal with the issue.

At a special convention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) headed by him, Mr. Rajapaksa said the proposed changes were not as “dangerous” as made out to be by the opposition.

He told the party convention, which unanimously endorsed the proposed changes, that the proposed amendments were not just to modify the presidential term limit as claimed by the main opposition United National Party.

The changes, known as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, seek to remove the two-term limit on the President and the Constitutional Council under the 17th Amendment.

The bill seeks repeal of the Constitutional Council and replaces it with a Parliamentary Council.

The President will seek the “observations” of the Parliamentary Council in making appointments to key government posts. However, where the Parliamentary Council fails to communicate its observations to the President within the specified time, the President can proceed to make appointments solely at his discretion.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.