he present Constitutional imbroglio has given rise to a spate of constitutional opinions being expressed by legal experts some genuine others spurious. Democracy is said to be, endangered and the Sovereignty of the people is much spoken of. One wonders what the ‘People’ in the so called peripheries, i.e. in the northern and eastern parts of the country and in the rural hinterland make of this. Do these constitutional controversies have the surreal quality of an Alice in wonderland experience for them, and do they have any part to play are some questions which come to mind.
"The recent political imbroglio is also interesting for what it has perhaps inadvertently thrown up. Unexpectedly it has energized the UNP and given it greater unity"
The constitutional imbroglio largely revolves around the interpretation of the 19A It must be kept in mind that the principles of statutory interpretation prescribe that it is not only the words but also the intent of the legislature in framing the legislation that has to be looked at. The Amendment was brought in to curb the President’s powers under the 1978 Constitution and not to increase them. The 2015 presidential election was also fought and won on this basis. So the general public is rightly confounded by the unfortunate turn of events. A subjective interpretation of the words in Article 42 (4) of the constitution namely’ the President shall appoint as PM the member of Parliament who in the Presidents opinion is most likely to command the confidence of parliament’. It would seem that the only way of getting back to firm ground and having a legitimate government in place is, to revert to the pre-October 26 position.
"The constitutional imbroglio largely revolves around the interpretation of the 19A
19A was brought into curb the President’s powers under the 1978 Constitution
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, showed remarkable courage in spite of the melee witnessed in parliament"
It is clear after the Local Government Elections that the people are not happy with the Government as it has not delivered on its promises made in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections of 2015, so a Parliamentary election is what in all probability the people would want. Rather than have to wait for another one and a half years, Parliamentary elections should be held sooner than later, once a legitimate Government is established, in accordance with the upcoming judgements of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. In a democracy the people’s wishes must be given effect to. President Sirisena who is more suited to gauge the feelings of the common man than others in the previous national Government has, .though in a muddled way brought this matter to the fore. As a man from the farming community he understood the aspirations and tribulations of the rural people and showed sympathy for the villagers and farmers of the Northern province whose lands had been taken over by the military and worked towards handing them back to the rightful owners. Hence he had the goodwill of the Tamil people. Unfortunately this has been largely dissipated by the recent turn of events.
"The President who is more suited to gauge the feelings of the common man than others in the previous Govt. has, though in a muddled way brought this matter to the fore. "
The recent political imbroglio is also interesting for what it has perhaps inadvertently thrown up. Unexpectedly it has energized the UNP and given it greater unity. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe of pre October 26 has shown great inner strength and character in the face of adversity, so it could be said “ sweet are the uses of Adversity”. Other personalities too, such as the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, have shown remarkable courage and we cannot leave out the Policemen, who protected the mace during the melee in Parliament. The people too have shown political maturity as there has been no disorder or outbreaks of violence and the bureaucracy have gone on with their administrative duties unfazed by the political convulsions. The Police and Army have maintained strict neutrality in the best traditions. So all in all we have something to be proud of. The only persons who have come out badly are the politicians who created the imbroglio and the Parliamentarians who vandalised the Parliament’s chamber and attacked the Speaker, Police and other members. Hopefully they will be given a fitting answer by the people at the general elections which hopefully will come in the not too distant future.