Parliament to send 20th Amendment to AG, PM | Daily News

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Parliament to send 20th Amendment to AG, PM

Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake handed over the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake at the Parliament Complex yesterday. MPs Sunil Handunnetti, Nihal Galappaththi and Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa were also present.
Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake handed over the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake at the Parliament Complex yesterday. MPs Sunil Handunnetti, Nihal Ga

Parliament is to send the 20th Amendment to the Constitution (20A) to abolish the Executive Presidency presented by the JVP to the Attorney General(AG) and the Prime Minister (PM).

Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake handed over the 20A to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayake at the Parliament Complex yesterday.

MP Dissanayake, speaking to the media after the submission of the 20A as a Private Member’s Bill along with MPs Sunil Handunnetti, Nihal Galappatti and Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, said President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must make known to the public their positions on the abolition of the Executive Presidency.

He pointed out if the Government has a genuine interest in delivering its pre-election pledge of abolishing the Executive Presidency, it can present the Bill in Parliament and pass it within a period of 2-3 months.

“It can be procrastinated if the Government has no interest. We are ready for a broad discussion with all political parties and accommodate amendments as necessary. We are open for constructive criticism,” he added.

The Bill has to be Gazetted after the approval of the AG before it is presented in Parliament.

Responding to a question by a journalist, the MP pointed out their initiative to present the 20A came with the realisation that the space for a new Constitution is fast shrinking with the latest developments in the political sphere.

“Since the new Constitution is a distant reality, our effort is to push for more democratic reforms,” he said.

“The Executive Presidency has created many unwanted problems over time. Excessive Presidential powers have eroded all democratic institutions. Parliament is a mere rubber seal and the Cabinet of Ministers are reduced to puppets under the Executive Presidency. Even the Judiciary could be influenced. Since the day the Executive Presidency came into being, there has been a strong voice against it. All successive Presidents, who came to power after 1994, pledged to abolish it in their election manifestoes.

This was one of the main election slogans of Common Candidate Sirisena. This Government cannot get away from this undertaking. We challenge the two leaders at the helm to say in public their positions on abolition of Executive Presidency,” he told the media.

He pointed out that the JVP is not keen on engaging with groups having “worship mentality” who wants to retain the Executive Presidency for their own survival.

Under the proposed 20th Amendment, the President will be appointed by Parliament, instead of a Presidential Election. The President will continue to be the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, but he will no longer be the Head of Government and the Head of Cabinet of Ministers. The proposed 20th Amendment will be implemented only after the current term of office of President Maithripala Sirisena.

As per the Draft Bill, the Head of Government and the Head of Cabinet of Ministers will be the Prime Minister.

The President’s powers are distributed among the Cabinet, Prime Minister, Constitutional Council and independent commissions.

However, the President will continue to have the powers of appointing the Governors of Provinces as same as the 13th Amendment.

The President’s power to appoint Ambassadors and High Commissioners and grant pardons will be subject to cabinet approval as per the proposed amendment. It will also remove the President’s power to prorogue Parliament.

 

 


 

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