Opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said today the proposed 19th Amendment must be redrafted to keeping with the Supreme Court determination, re-gazetted and the Supreme Court approval obtained before presenting it in Parliament.
He said this was a pre-requisite if opposition support was necessary for the passage of the 19A in Parliament.
Mr. de Silva said the government distributed a draft of the proposed 19th Amendment in English. It appeared to have been prepared haphazardly and the opposition refused to accept.
He said the opposition wants a properly drafted 19th Amendment in line with the Supreme Court ruling if the government wants the support of the opposition.
Mr. de Silva said government was lagging behind in 100-day programme and charged that the government was carrying out a misinformation campaign that the UPFA was against the 19th Amendment and the protests in parliament were aimed at preventing the 19th Amendment being debated and not to protect the interests of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
He told a news conference that the UPFA was agreeable to re-activating the independent commissions, clipping the absolute powers of the executive presidency and introducing electoral reforms.
“Unfortunately what has happened is an attempt by the government to hoodwink the opposition and surreptitiously incorporate certain clauses in the 19th Amendment to create the post of executive prime minister. We opposed these attempts. Our position is that the 19th Amendment must be drafted in line with the Supreme Court determination. Only then can we support it,” Mr. De Silva said.
“I am sad to say that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has done something that has never happened in our parliament before. He attempted to present a 36-page Bill through the Attorney General weakening the presidency and strengthening the prime minister. We opposed that covertly act and not to the 19th Amendment. The opposition will not support the 19th Amendment until the government redrafted and gazetted it and obtained SC approval.”(Sandun A. Jayasekera)