Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya requested the government not to repeal the 19th Amendment but to review it and rectify its shortcomings through a broad dialogue.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Mr. Jayasuriya said in a statement on Saturday.
“Initiate a dialogue with every one of the shortcomings of the 19th Amendment unless it would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, he said in the statement.
“A new Constitution should represent the views and ideologies of all political parties, civil groups, experts and the people and it should be formulated through a dialogue of these groups,” he added.
“The 19th Amendment was formulated after seeking the ideas of people as well as the experts and also through a broad discussion in Parliament. It was the UPFA headed by the then President Maithripala Sirisena which contributed to the formulation of this piece of legislation through providing most number of votes in the House for it,” he also said.
“This piece of legislation outlined the maximum number of members that should be included in the cabinet while it has ensured the people’s right to information. Therefore, the decision made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to limit the cabinet to 26 members is commendable,” Mr. Jayasuriya said.
He recalled that the 17th Amendment was the most progressive piece of legislation to be introduced in Sri Lanka before the 19th Amendment. The JVP decided to support the then SLFP led government only if it agreed to bring in this piece of legislation. However, he said it was not possible to set up an independent election commission as there was a disagreement by the then President and others on the person who should have been appointed as the Chairperson of this commission.
“I extend my sincere best wishes to the present government with sincere hope that it will develop a broader platform to formulate a new constitution,” he finally said.(Yohan Perera)