By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, the only parliamentarian to vote against the 19th Amendment said yesterday he was glad that President Maithripala Sirisena had realized the truth even at this late stage and admitted to the blunder of having introduced the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
“The 19th Amendment took the country down a precipice by creating a constitutional, political and social crisis in the country. How long are we going to suffer under the crisis created by the 19A. The Executive President cannot take a decision on even the government’s act of selling state assets. The Prime Minister took over the powers of the Executive President in an extremely covert manner. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was able to dissolve Parliament and hold elections when Ranil’s Government signed a Ceasefire agreement with the LTTE in 2002. But today, President Sirisena cannot take any action against the UNP government despite the many anti-national acts done by it. The Executive President does not have any power today and cannot even appoint a judge to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, nor does he have the power to appoint the Police chief.
The Constitutional Council (CC) rejects his nominations, because seven out of nine members of the CC are towing the government line,” Rear Admiral Weerasekara told Daily Mirror yesterday.
The only change done by constituting the CC is the devolving of power to Trincomalee and Colombo where former opposition leader R. Sampanthan and Ranil live.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution canvassed by the President and the Yahapalana Government was passed in Parliament on April 28, 2015 with 215 votes for and one against out of a total of 225 MPs. Only Mr. Weerasekara voted against.