20-A won’t help promote federalism – JVP


By Saman Indrajith

None should harbour any unfounded fears on the JVP’s proposed amendments to the Constitution as they would not strip the President of his powers on matters related to the Provincial Councils, says the JVP.

JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath told The Island that some sections of society had sought to view his party’s proposals to amend the constitution as an attempt to weaken the executive presidency to enable a federal solution to the national problem. "Our proposals would not deprive the presidency of any of the powers that position holds with regard to the provincial councils. The presidential powers over the provincial councils would remain as in the case of the 13th amendment to the Constitution," he said.

"On the other hand the amendments that we are planning to be introduced would come only to effect during the times of the next President, not during the times of the incumbent president’s period. So, it is wrong for our critics to claim that we are planning to bring about these amendments at this juncture to promote the process of separatism."

The amendments prepared by a panel of experts would be handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament during the first parliamentary sitting week of May, MP Herath said. "They would undergo formative and linguistic changes at the Legal Draftsman’s Department and once the completed set of amendments come back, our party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake will present it to the House as a private member’s motion."

MP Herath said that his party would hold talks with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader R Sampanthan, Joint Opposition leader former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other leaders of parties in Parliament on the contents of the amendment.

JVP Leader Dissanayaka said that his party had planned to present the 20th amendment to Parliament as a private members’ motion on April 19, but it had been delayed as President Sirisena prorogued Parliamentary in a bid to settle the internal conflict of the SLFP.

Dissanayaka said President Sirisena had come to power, promising to abolish the executive presidency, but had not taken any action to present an amendment to the Constitution to do so. As a result, the JVP had decided to present the 20th Amendment to the Constitution as a private members motion.

"The Amendment has been criticised by many pointing out that President would lose powers over the Provincial Governors and their appointments.

JVP Kalutara District MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said that the approval of a two-thirds majority in Parliament would be needed for their Amendment to be passed. "The support of other MPs will be needed at this point. In addition, if the Supreme Court so decides, there will have to be a referendum as well," he said, adding that the JVP had been calling for the abolition of the executive presidency since it was introduced.

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