The debate on the 19th Amendment is currently under way in Parliament with voting scheduled to be held this evening.
Deputy Minister Policy Planning and Economic Development Harsha De Silva tweeted from Parliament that he was “worried about the fate the amendment as two issues were yet to be resolved.”
Appointment of the Cabinet, a collaborative effort of the President and the Prime Minister, is one unresolved issue.
The Opposition wanted the power to be given solely to the President, the Deputy Minister tweeted.
“But the whole argument is to reduce the powers of the President but here we have to act with consensus. So, let us see if there can be a compromise,” Silva said.
Appointments to the Constitutional Council (CC) are another bone of contention.
The CC was to consist of seven non-political eminent persons and three politicians (The President, Prime Minister and Speaker).
“Now the opposition is saying 'no'. It cannot have independent persons but instead wants 10 MPs. This will completely negate the depolitisisation of the CC and thereby all appointments to the Independent Commissions,” Silva said.
The amendment could be in more hot water as the technical issue could change it considerably at the committee stage, the Deputy Minister said.
“The Secretary General is apparently, and correctly, of the view that once the 2nd reading of the 19A is passed with a 2/3rd majority the amendments could be passed with a simple majority. If that is the case then the shape and form of the 19A can be seriously changed, at the Committee Stage unless there is an agreement on the above two matters prior to the vote,” he said.
“MP John Seneviratne began the debate for the Opposition. MPs Dinesh Gunawardene, Prof. G. L. Pieris, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Dullas Alahapperuma are in deep conversation,” Silva tweeted.