Establish truly Independent Commissions – UNP


by Zacki Jabbar

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution providing for the establishment of the Independent Commissions was at the mercy of the President and its implementation would not help in the restoration of democracy, law and order or the eradication of corruption, the UNP said yesterday.

Senior Vice President of the UNP John Ameratunga told The Island that the need of the hour was Independent Commissions on the lines of the now defunct 17th Amendment.

He said that stooges of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, who had supported the passage of the 18th Amendment, had the audacity to accuse the Opposition of being silent on its non-implementation.

Under the 18th Amendment, the President had the power to override any or all of the decisions of the Parliamentary Council which was required to constitute the Independent Commissions. "So, it makes no difference whether such bodies, which are nothing but a joke, exist or not," Ameratunga said.

Amaratunga said that under the 17th Amendment President Rajapaksa was required to appoint the Constitutional Council, thereby empowering it to constitute the Independent Public Service, Elections, Bribery and Corruption, Human Rights, Delimitation and Finance Commissions, but he kept giving lame excuses for not performing the constitutional duty cast upon him.

President Rajapaksa had marked time until he was elected for a second term and rushed the 18th Amendment through parliament with the support of some Opposition parliamentarians, whom he unethically induced to join the government ranks, Ameratunga said.

Anyone was free to express their views, but they should not make fools of themselves, in their eagerness to curry favour with the powers that be, Amaratunga said.

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