Ahead of a planned snap presidential election, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the largest constituent party of the government, will initiate a public seminar series to drive home the point that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is constitutionally entitled to contest for the third time, informed sources said yesterday.
The party has decided to take this initiative amid concerns raised by some legal experts that the President was ineligible to contest for the third time despite the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
Earlier, former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva argued the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted only after the President was elected for his second term in January, 2010, and therefore the new law could not be applied retroactively.
Against this backdrop, the SLFP, headed by the President, decided to counter such legal arguments in public forums with the backing of legal experts loyal to the party.
Party’s National Organizer Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa is slated to convene a meeting of SLFP stalwarts to discuss this move.
The former Chief Justice told the media earlier the President was elected for his second term before the 18th Amendment, and therefore he could not be reelected.
The 18th Amendment was passed in September 2010. Mr. de Silva noted one principle notion was that the law was not retroactive, and therefore it could be applied to the future only. The 18th Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution in September 2010.
The President has already told his party members that he will call for a snap national election after November 19. (Kelum Bandara)