Last Updated : 01-10-2014 03:15

 

 
 

Three terms for the President

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By Sandun A. Jayasekara


The government may bring amendments to the Constitution within the next month to allow three terms for an executive President, a senior government source claimed today.

The Constitutional reforms the UPFA government expects to introduce on priority basis in the next few weeks will include the change of term of office a President is permitted to hold under the present Constitution, the senior Minister said.

“The change of the term of office of the President paving the way to hold more than two terms is not intended to give an opportunity to President Mahinda Rajapaksa but to strengthen democracy and stabilize the government,” the Minister said on condition of anonymity.

He said the government wants to introduce these electoral and constitutional reforms sooner rather than later and complete the process before November when President Rajapaksa takes oaths for his second term. The need of the hour is a stable and strong administration to take the country forward and achieve a speedy development and the amendments are aimed at achieving those goals, he added.

The new UPFA government is also planning to change the Preferential Representative System. Accordingly, the ward system will be introduced to the local government elections and a combination of the PR system and the First Past the Post system for the Provincial Council and Parliamentary elections.

The consent of the Eastern Province is necessary to introduce certain electoral reforms such as the ward system. The UPFA is in discussions with the Eastern Province Chief Minister Vinyagamurthi Muralidharan to get his cooperation for the amendments.

Some amendments need Two-Thirds majority and others a simple majority to get into the Statute book. More influential and critical amendments need the Supreme Court clearance and the approval by the people through a referendum.

With assistance of all constituent parties of the UPFA and the cooperation of the opposition members the government is determined to pass those urgent constitutional amendments before November.

The electoral reforms must go through and approve in Parliament before next year’s local government polls. The first election held in the country under the new electoral system will be the 2011 local government polls, he said.

The Minister ruled out the possibility to introduce a brand new Constitution in the near future and added that legislative and constitutional reforms would be brought through amendments to the existing law.

They include the reforms to the 17th Amendment to strengthen independent commissions with new Constitutional provisions as the present amendments have created more controversies than solutions for good governance, the Minister noted.

On the question of attracting 7 members from the opposition to fill the absolute Two Thirds majority in Parliament to pass the Constitutional amendments, he said several members of the UNP, SLMC and the TNA had already pledged their support to President Rajapaksa.

“We do not intend to disclose the names of these MPs. But they will vote with the government when the necessity arrives,” he claimed.


 
 

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Comments 

 
-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:05
Why not an 'unlimited' number of terms?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 12:39
UNLIMITED TERM VERY GOOD
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:08
'The cat is out of the bag!'
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 23:11
DYNASTY, IN THE MAKING!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:11
"Not intended to give an opportunity to President Mahinda Rajapaksa" - 'joke' of the century!
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-0+1 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:14
MR said, he would abolish the Executive Presidency ... Now asking for an extra term? Blame the people who voted for him ...
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:29
Let us change the Constitution, so that there are no elections, anymore?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:40
What more to come?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-27 23:43
This move was not difficult to foresee. We knew that the ruling regime's desperation for the 2/3rds was to shape the Constitution, to their liking. However, just like the UNP's Constitutional provisions benefited the SLFP/UPFA, the fruits of the current ruling regime's labour will be fully enjoyed by a future UNP administration.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 13:07
"a future UNP administration."??
Get up man, enough dreaming!!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 00:01
3 terms, and make it 10 years per term - good for you!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 00:05
Aha, now we see the light!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 00:11
Who wrote this article? Your office peon? The PR system is not the 'Preferential Representative System,' its the Proportional Representation System. Eastern Province chief minister is not Vinyagamurthi Muralidharan, it is Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan).
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 00:14
The Budget or Constitutional changes, which is the more urgent and important?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 02:18
Now people, just sit an enjoy "the show."
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 06:25
It's Peoples Choice !.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 02:45
So, who is going to benefit from this change?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 06:25
People !.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 10:33
people and country will benefit as long as their is no elections
imagine the amount of money spent on elections
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 11:03
Are you sure??????
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 11:15
yeah!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 22:20
MR to hold-on for three terms till Namal is over thirty, to takeover, as there is a minimum age stipulation for a President. So, who will benefit dear Shukry?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 04:56
Madness. I just don't know why in this country people cannot have elections the way it is set and go home when you are done. No US president will ever bring in laws to extend his term.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 05:06
People were blaming JR for all these evils in the constitution. JR at least limited the term for President for 2 terms which is good thing. now MR is going further than JR and asked for third term as well. if they want to develop the country the 7 years he already got is more than enough.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 05:42
This is bad for the democracy.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 05:54
I dont think its the will of the people, why not put it to a referendum by the people, The executive Presidency is bad enough, to extend it to three terms is a travesty. All this could be attributed to JR who thought he was the last King of Sinhale reborn and was almighty God. He was the worse President we ever had.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 06:01
Sri lankan Parliamentarian s should never be allow to increase the current President's term from two to three. It could be a stepping stone for a dictatorship mainly due to greediness to be in power. Additionally, the next President who will be in power after approximately 18 years will never be able to correct the wrong doings (if it happens) by the incumbent and so on.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 06:22
The possibility of any President winning an election to grant him/her a third term is rather unlikely. By the time they finish their second term, the people have seen that all the promises made and the voter aspirations raised before the elections was simply vote getting tactics and nothing more than eyewash. Therefore they can retain power for further terms only by means other than by the legitimate vote.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-29 00:01
It only takes another 'jilmart' to achieve this!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 06:38
Two terms as an Executive President is just enough. Why be too greedy for power.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 12:20
This is just the beginning mate! A lot more to come.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 07:47
A good move indeed. Even Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe can have this chance of being the president for three terms someday.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 08:02
Fantastic! Thanks to the 58% and the 34%.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 08:08
This cannot be a big issue. Incumbent President will have to be elected by votes. ppl have the chance to elect him or not.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 23:15
The present Elections Commissioner, too, will get another term.

.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 08:21
Parliament can strenthen democracy in a day by passing the necessary legislation.. You dont need a President for 18 years to do it.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 09:05
there is nothing shocking about this. what is shocking however is the fact that sri lankans voted fr all this to happen! i personally dont think we will ever get a chance to vote again...
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 09:19
OMG... another term??? no no no... 2 is enough. plz
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 09:23
3 terms "only if" people vote for him. He has to do something super good if he ever thinks of contesting the 3rd term.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 10:22
I also agree with Victor. People elect the President. So, one with bad records will not be elected again for the second term even.

But I personally feel that the existing system is good.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 10:31
How do you compare this with Computer Voting ( Gilmart) System
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 09:31
I think it should be like USA. Or both the winner and the looser should be given two chances each dispite wheather they win or loose.Both HE Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mr. Ranil Wickramesinha are great persons But Mr. Wickramasingha is not a successful leader.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 10:59
Oh... no...........
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 11:35
All, just listen to Gypsies song "I don't know why"!!!!
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 11:54
So that is the fate of Sri Lanka, we are bored now with the same president, we need change pls.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 12:30
Mahinda cannot be the next president even if the constitution is changed for three terms. Existing president has only two terms.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 12:53
Sanje, we were bored 7 years ago. cant help it we got to bear 'it' another few years.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 13:05
Executive presidency should be stooped , n should go back to electoral+repre sentative system otherwise under present the system a majority parliament is difficult and rare no 3rd term should be allowed in executive presidency
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 13:14
Consequences of a poor opposition led by useless Ranil Wickremasinghe! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 16:53
Why blame Ranil? Even if Barak Obama was sitting in the opposition he can't do anything now. You should blame those who did not vote for Ranil.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 13:55
“The change of the term of office of the President paving the way to hold more than two terms is not intended to give an opportunity to President Mahinda Rajapaksa but to strengthen democracy and stabilize the government,”


Then MR won't have any issue stepping aside after 2 terms and handing over the reigns to another candidate within the UPFA?

BTW what happened to the abolishment of the Executive Presidency?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 14:07
Then BLAME JR for all
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 14:11
Whether it is two terms or ten terms the rule is for anyone who becomes the President. Furthermore, it is THE CHOICE OF THE PEOPLE. SO WHAT'S THE ISSUE????
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 14:31
3 terms not enough.. give 5 at least.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 22:59
Can't we make him a 'PP'? I mean, 'Permanent President'?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 15:52
Instead of asking for more terms he should provide things that was promised. I do not think we need to give anyone three terms. Why?????
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 16:11
In Democracy you get the leader you deserve! May God Bless All of "you."
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 16:56
But only 55% registered voters voted in the last election. How many of them voted for MR?
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 22:25
No more elections in Sri Lanka, in our life-times ... Foolish Sri Lankans.
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-0+0 # Guest 2010-04-28 23:55
This is typical of Sri Lanka's opportunistic political leaders. They care only for hanging onto power ...
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