JO erred by voting for 19th Amendment - Keheliya | Daily News

JO erred by voting for 19th Amendment - Keheliya

UPFA MP Keheliya Rambukwella admitted that the Joint Opposition (JO) was a party to a historical mistake by voting for the 19th Amendment without properly studying it in 2015.

Addressing a media briefing held together with UPFA MP Dilan Perera, Rambukwella confessed that they too were to blame for the political crisis the country was in today as a result of the vagueness of the 19th Amendment.

“At that time, the political situation was very fragile, the President had taken over the SLFP leadership and all of us were under pressure. It was also passed in a hurried manner.We managed to make 132 amendments but when we called for a division on this matter (Article 70), the Speaker said it was too late”.

He further explained that the current crisis was due to the 19th Amendment specifying whether Article 70 trumped Article 33 (c) or not.

I believe the architects of the 19th Amendment included Article 33 (c) which states that the President has the powers to ‘to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament’ to prevent a repetition of the the Supreme Court ruling in 2002 which stated that significant changes to the nature of the Executive would need a referendum and two thirds majority, Rambukwella said.

Article 70 in the meantime states, “The President may by Proclamation, summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament: Provided that the President shall not dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period of not less than four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting, unless Parliament requests the President to do so by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), voting in its favour”, thus causing the present confusion.

Speaking on the UNP’s demand to hold a Presidential election prior to a General Election, Perera noted that even if the President was convinced to call for an early election, a new President would still have to face a similar Parliamentary deadlock, “If the Supreme Court is to rule that Parliament can only be dissolved after 4.5 years, a new President will also have to deal with this Parliament”.

Parliamentary election according to the assumption of the 4.5 year rule, can only be held in March 2019 and a Presidential election in late December 2019 or early January 2020.

“This would still mean that the current political crisis would continue for longer. Thus the only solution is a General Election. The political deadlock between the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive started on November 14 and neither can resolve it- it is up to the people now”, Perera said.



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