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PRESIDENT’S POWERS IN CRISIS: Is Constitutional crisis in the making?

17 August 2017 12:07 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lankan President’s statement that no party or group can form a Government without his “blessings”, even if it is shown that the opposition has 113 members - which is an uphill task - may lead to a constitutional crisis and confrontation in the current political turmoil. Nothing could be ruled out based on the current uncertain trends when bribery, corruption, inefficiency in small and large scales , growing as breath for the disappointed of the citizen living with expectations for a “Change” and “Good Governance”. 

 

  • Former regime conducted 29 polls at the maturity of the life of PCs and LG bodies
  • Failure to conduct periodic polls in 1982 led to JVP uprising in 80’s, and LTTE terrorism that ruined SL for 30 years
  • Ravi K’s resignation a stage to protect real culprits and a fraction of massive corruptions

President’s statement was prompted by number of statements by the opposition claiming change of the government by “changing heads” as under Article 33(1) of the Constitution (amended by the 19th Amendment) that the Parliament cannot be dissolved for a period of four and half years akin to the infamous referendum of 1983 extending the parliament for a further period of 6 years without a general election which paved the groundwork for the uprising that lasted over thirty years. Referendum was made a part of the “Supreme Law” by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution by article 2(e) which states “unless sooner dissolved the first Parliament shall continue until August 4, 1989….”. Similarly under Article 4 of the 19th Amendment, the life of the Parliament is extended by four and half years where the President can hold on to power without dissolving the parliament whatever the circumstances amounting to reintroduction of a similar referendum from the back door, is as undemocratic as the referendum by JR Jayewardene.

Ironically it is the present Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe who played a major role in the referendum in 1983, won under controversial circumstances which is still in the public domain. Extension of the life of an elected Parliament at the end of the period is the most undemocratic act by a group of Honourable Trustees of the people appointed to govern the country as trustees for a limited period which today amounts to Executive and Parliamentary dictatorship. 

President’s blessings in the present context is a controversial statement when he is answerable to the Parliament as an impartial umpire in the head of the State claiming to be impartial and democratic claiming to be ruled under good governance. In addition to the legal basis of the mood and the expectations and agitations of the citizen in general are considered to be seriously based on the future ground situation and circumstances. Sadly the govt is finding ways and means to postpone/avoid elections on local and provincial elections due soon in the guise of a 20th Amendment to the Constitution.   

President’s blessings in the present context is a controversial statement when he is answerable to the Parliament as an impartial umpire in the head of the State claiming to be impartial and democratic claiming to be ruled under good governance.

Legal basis and morality

Above analysis is the legal basis of the issues with are brewing vigorously in the absence of periodic elections the electorate is early awaiting for. Despite series of serious accusations the previous regime conducted 29 elections at the maturity of the life of provincial and local bodies. It is unfortunate the rulers have not learnt bitter lessons and dangerous consequences of not holding periodic elections in/during 1982 that led to the JVP uprising in 80’s and LTTE terrorism that ruined the nation over three decades. 

Electorate should not feel that they are denied of the basic democratic rights of franchise used and enjoyed successfully since independence in an exemplary way for decades/generations. If the electorate is claiming/demanding a change forcible suppression in any way will lead to anarchy and loss of confidence. It will be an enormous task for the opposition to mobilise 113 Members of Parliament for a Change considering the privilege’s and perks enjoyed by the legislature they embrace with great care irrespective of party politics or any other differences. 

Everybody enjoys glory of power and the unlimited financial benefits protecting the mafia at any cost until the last moment to earn for generations before being forced out. There is a move for approval of 715 million for the travel expenses of the members of parliament for the month of June is a fraction of the massive burden of the citizen. Former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayaka’s resignation is a  stage managed act to protect the real culprits and a fraction of massive corruptions. Suppression of the will/wish of the citizen on technicalities’ or Presidential powers would not be a wise step as it may explode in an unexpected magnitude, which could only be avoided by holding periodic and impartial elections by the Executive President who is still enormously powerful.  

Executive dictatorship and /or parliament dictatorship (known as the Parliament Mafia)

Dictatorship is a form of govt, in which, a country is ruled by one person or by polity and power is exercised through various mechanisms in order to ensure the countries power remains strong. Power of the President is well centralized despite the hastily and haphazardly approved 19th Amendment tailor made for the President and Prime Minister by Article 17(1) and Article 51 introducing restrictions on the most popular opponents akin to the removal of civic rights of Sirimavo Bandaranaike after the 1977 victory. She was the most powerful and winning contender over JR whose rights were suppressed for the latter’s victory. 

Taking Defence, Mahaweli and Environment under President under the 19th Amendment is a tailor made change to the Constitution to benefit President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, who was unsuccessful in 29 elections, compelled to dissolve the parliament prematurely on a technicality during then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. 

Sri Lankan Parliament consists of 225 members enjoying privileges, and perks unparalleled to any other parliamentarians anywhere in the world. They are paid high salaries, salaries for staff, housing, insurance, food at extremely cheap rates and transport in addition to the vehicle permits they sell illegally with enormous profits. The privileges and perks accruing are unlimited and all the members are united in enhancing perks and privileges though they fight tooth and nail on all other matters. Every member has a craze for expensive vehicles and the public action case instituted by an activist lawyer Naganande Kodiththuwakku, that 100 Parliamentarians have sold their car permits illegally at a loss of 3.1 billion to the citizen.

Sri Lankan Parliament consists of 225 members enjoying privileges, and perks unparalleled to any other parliamentarians anywhere in the world. They are paid high salaries, salaries for staff, housing, insurance, food at extremely cheap rates and transport in addition to the vehicle permits they sell illegally with enormous profits

At the courts, the Attorney General has undertaken to initiate legal proceedings, no steps have been taken so far. These hundred are those who are exposed when all, or most others, including the party leaders and those holding high positions have enjoyed the benefits. Others are no angels with skeletons on their cupboards. There is a weak opposition of 16 MP’s whose mandate is to look after the North and East voting with the govt in the Parliament and supporting them at every turn.   

Now that all political parties have joined together to enviously safeguard and protect their benefits at any cost, it is hard for a split group to mobilize 113 members for a change unless there is a strong swing compelling opponents to unite.  

Constitutional crisis in the making

Major Constitutional changes are due with the appointment of a Public Representation Committee for a new constitution and Committees in the Parliament despite a number of other schools of thoughts that the Constitution should be amended without going for a new Constitution due to most controversial issues on Religion, Devaluation, Unitary nature of the State and provisions on Reconciliation, when the citizen is more interested on water and electricity cuts, drought, after effects of the floods, blast at the SL Army’s arms storage depot, Uma Oya, cost of living and Hambantota agreement with a private Chinese Company and plans of sale allegations of sell off of family silver. 

The Proposed 20th Amendment to hold the provincial elections on the same day and not holding elections of the provincial and local councils as scheduled is a dangerous move with ulterior motives to postpone elections they are scared to face. It appears that the govt intends postponement of elections due to unpopularity and other scandals that have made issues complicated. Would these unwise steps ease the tension or explode is a matter left to the citizen and the political activists. We wish and pray the Trustees of the Nation be wise rulers.   

  Comments - 1

  • Peter Thursday, 17 August 2017 07:47 PM

    The President is a disgrace to the country and its peoples.He made so many promises when he took over as leader in 2015, Now he is involved with the Maharaja group in monkey business. Parading yousel in whte National dress and going to religious places does not make you a man but a fraud in many matters that are coming to light. We do not believe that you can go about in the country in this false character deceiving the masses.It is time for you to quit and let someone run the show as you are incompetent, lack of character and administrative skills to run the country. As to how you can go about the country telling lies to the masses is unbelievable. You will go do in history as a pain to its peoples and a shame to the country where you have been a leader under false pretence.


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