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Abuse of executive powers
justifies call to abolish exec. Presidency - JVP

JVP frontliner Anura Kumara Dissanayake said yesterday President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent intervention on behalf of his nephew Sashindra Rajapaksa, who is the Chief Minister of Uva, bolstered the JVP’s position that the executive presidency had to be abolished.

Addressing a recent press conference at the party headquarters, Dissanayake said that the President went to the extent of using his executive powers to allow Sashindra Rajapaksa to remain the Basnayake Nilame of the Kataragama Devale while being Chief Minister of the Uva Provincial Council.

Dissanayake said if not for presidential intervention, Sashindra could not have been appointed Uva Chief Minister before relinquishing the post at the Kataragama Devale.

Responding to our queries, he said that the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa had introduced legislation way back in 1989 to prevent anyone from being sworn in as a member of Parliament, Provincial Council or local government body unless he quit post held at temples or devales. But the incumbent President had issued a special gazette notification exempting Sashindra from that law.

Could there be a better example to highlight abuse of executive powers, Dissanayake asked.

He said that President Premadasa’s law had cost the then Matara District MP Mahinda Wijesekera the post of Basnayake Nilame of the Devundara devale. The then UNP MP Dharmadasa Banda, too, had to give up a similar position at some other devale.

Referring to the handing over of two baby jumbos to Dalada Maligawa by the President, the MP said that it had been another example of sheer abuse of executive powers. He alleged that presidential intervention had effectively thwarted those who had sought judicial intervention to return jumbos to the Pinnawela elephant orphanage.

Dissanayake said that ministers had been reduced to peons though some of them talked big. According to him, almost all major revenue sources as well as important sectors had been brought under the President. He said that the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the Lands Reforms Commission (LRC) had been placed under the President. The entire country was in the hands of the Rajapaksas and this could not be allowed to continue, he said.

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