Impeachment: The crisis and the solution - Editorial

5 November 2012 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The 2013 Budget to be presented in Parliament on Thursday has been overshadowed by events that could make or break democracy in Sri Lanka. When Parliament meets today, the Speaker will announce the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Divi Neguma Bill amid one of the most serious crises between the all-powerful Executive and the Legislature on one side, and the Judiciary on the other.

The Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa – widely known to be a super minister who will become even more powerful if the Divi Neguma Bill becomes law – said the Rajapaksa regime was prepared to respect and act according to the Supreme Court ruling. The Court had earlier ruled that since the Bill took over some of the powers of the provincial councils, the approval of all councils must be obtained. The Government acted fast and obtained the approval of eight of the nine councils. Since elections have not been held to the Northern PC, the Government obtained the approval of the unelected Northern Province Governor and presented the Bill in Parliament last month.

But more petitions were filed in the SC saying the approval of the governor is not valid. If the SC upholds the petition, the Government might have to obtain not only a 2/3 majority in Parliament, but also the approval of the people at a referendum. Minister Rajapaksa said last Friday the Government was prepared to do this.

Yet the Rajapaksa regime, last week in a drastic and dramatic move, presented to the Speaker a motion to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike. Details of the motion presented to the Speaker will not be officially announced till today, but it is reported to contain six charges, probably relating to ‘improper conduct’. The CJ herself has said nothing, but her son Shaveen Bandaranayake in a tough statement posted on Facebook last Friday, said the Chief Justice would not back down in the face of party political pressure or threats. He said the issue was serious and the choice before the people was whether they wanted democracy or tyranny. If the Government goes ahead with the Impeachment Motion, most independent analysts believe it will spell doom for democracy. In terms of the Constitution, the people are supposed to be sovereign with their executive power being exercised by the President, their legislative power by Parliament, and their judicial power by courts of law. If this basic principle is violated or twisted, then the people lose their sovereignty and we may be heading for a dictatorship.

Most independent analysts, including Buddhist Prelates, believe Sri Lanka is at the cross roads and facing its hour of destiny. They believe the problem lies essentially in absolute power being given to the Executive Presidency, and the solution must begin with the abolition of the Executive Presidency and the restoration of Parliamentary Government.
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  • Mahagoda Tuesday, 06 November 2012 07:21 AM

    This was the promised made by this government to the voter at last presidential election.
    neither the 13th amendement nor the 18th were the wish of the country. Both are imposters on the people by force.
    There is no doubt, the government should have brought a complete revision of constitution to Westminister style with lower & upper house only & no other devolution except the DDCS & Village councils as in the past.Unfortunately bus is missed.


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