Abolishing executive presidency in Sri Lanka!

All set for the Presidential Election on November 16, 2019

March this year in Sri Lanka the Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) as the real opposition in parliament since 2015, discussed with the United National Party (UNP) leading the alliance in government a draft of the 20th amendment to the Constitution that included a proposal to abolish executive presidency with a view to get the Amendment passed in parliament with a two-third majority. Though UNP had at its previous party convention agreed to abolish the executive presidency as a policy, they told JVP that they should have discussions with the other parties in the alliance to decide supporting the proposal. Thereafter the matter was not taken up in parliament and the draft was shelved for another day.

The Government of Sri Lanka is led by the president, who is the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. The current constitution of Sri Lanka is the third constitution since the country got independence in 1948 and the second republican constitution has been amended 19 times. The president is directly elected to serve a five year team in office is responsible to the parliament of Sri Lanka for exercising certain duties as described under the country’s constitution. The president can be removed from office following a two-thirds vote of no-confidence by the parliament with the mutual affirmation of the Supreme Court. The elected president who is the head of cabinet is also responsible for appointing cabinet ministers, who are responsible to Parliament. The deputy to the President in Sri Lanka is the prime minister who is also the leader of the ruling party in Parliament. The President is responsible for dissolving the current cabinet and appointing a new one in the event that a parliamentary no confident vote is passed. The president of Sri Lanka is elected through contingent vote.

National Election Commission (NEC) yesterday pronounced that the Presidential Election will be held on November 16, as per the Gazette Extraordinary released last night. Today after the date of Presidential Election was made public, the President held a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the proposal to abolish the executive presidency, which was rejected by majority of the cabinet. Though there are key members on either side of the divide in parliament who stand to gain by supporting this campaign, it has come rather too late for consideration by the cabinet and their rejection was understandable as the people are all ready for the Election.