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22nd Amendment Bill, A Farce?

4 July 2022 12:11 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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On 30 June, the Parliament gazetted the 22nd Amendment Bill. It garnered criticism against many of its provisions including the fact that the proposed amendment would not apply to the current parliament. Direction Sri Lanka - Independent Professionals for the Nation released a statement stating that the 22nd Amendment Bill ‘neither reflects the pledges made nor addresses the genuine concerns of the people but is aimed at entrenching and continuance in power of a President and a government that has deplorably failed the nation.’

 

"The 22nd Amendment Bill ‘neither reflects the pledges made nor addresses the genuine concerns of the people"


The statement points out that the 22nd Amendment bill failed to address or accommodate the proposals of Direction Sri Lanka, which were also communicated to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The provisions that were communicated included increasing the representation from outside the Parliament in the Constitutional Council, proposing a 3:7 ratio between MPs and appointees outside the Parliament as per the original 19A Bill. However, the present proposed amendment bill allows a 7:3 ratio of representation between MPs and appointees outside the Parliament.

 

"The overall effect of the 22ndAmendment Bill is to ‘perpetuate the continuance of a President and Government that has lost the mandate of the people. The Bill, in many aspects, reflects the 20thAmendment to the Constitution, which has been rejected by the President himself’"


Another proposal that was put forward was that the President should not hold any portfolio and that Article 44 (2) of the Constitution should be deleted. They also proposed that Secretaries to the Ministries should be appointed by the Prime Minister for the purposes of practicality, and that removal and appointment of the Ministers should be done on the advice of the Prime Minister. Direction Sri Lanka notes that though the provision regarding the removal and appointment of Ministers have been included, it is only applicable for the next Parliament.

 

"According to the proposed 22nd Amendment, the President won’t have power to dismiss the Prime Minister, with the power being reposed on the Parliament alone"


The statement also notes that according to the proposed 22nd Amendment, the President won’t have power to dismiss the Prime Minister, with the power being reposed on the Parliament alone. However, since these changes won’t affect the current parliament, Direction Sri Lanka is of the opinion that other political parties and MPs who have declared to be independent of the governing party would not be interested in joining the government to form a consensus government. The statement also points out that the President’s powers to prorogue and dissolve the parliament remains untouched in the 22nd Amendment Bill.


According to Direction Sri Lanka, the overall effect of the 22ndAmendment Bill is to ‘perpetuate the continuance of a President and Government that has lost the mandate of the people. The Bill, in many aspects, reflects the 20thAmendment to the Constitution, which has been rejected by the President himself.’ 


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