Executive Presidency Cannot Be Abolished Overnight – Wijeyadasa

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Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs, and Constitutional Reforms Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) demand for the abolition of the Executive Presidency through the 21st Amendment to the Constitution cannot be implemented overnight.

He noted that rushing such a measure would endanger the country politically, socially, and economically, and the consequences would be felt for generations to come.

He told Ceylon Today that the only viable option for abolishing the Executive Presidency would be to draft a new Constitution.

The Minister opined any attempt to dispense with the Executive Presidency would need ample debate and thorough analysis, as it is inextricably linked to the country’s electioneering system.

He warned that if this is done without due care for the people and the country, it will have unfathomable consequences that will take years and decades to reverse.

When asked about the SJB’s vehement opposition to the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, drafted by his Ministry, the Minister stated that his Ministry drafted it to meet public demands, not to appease certain political parties with vested interests.

“I think all political parties represented in Parliament, after careful analysis of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, should vote for its ratification or else their very political fate will be decided by the voters at the next election,” Dr. Rajapakshe observed.

“The stance of the SJB to do away with the Executive Presidency has to be followed through based on a thorough discourse. If the Executive Presidency is overhauled in no time without the necessary constitutional reforms, it will plunge this country into a state of anarchy and its consequences will last for years and decades to come. But, we feel the need of the hour is for the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to be ratified in the House, which will go a long way towards regaining the trust and confidence of the public towards the Government.”

According to the subject Minister, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution will primarily focus on reduction of powers vested in the Executive Presidency, whilst re-establishing the independent commissions and the Constitutional Council, which were introduced via the 19th Amendment.

Once the 21st Amendment to the Constitution is passed, it will also forestall a foreign national or a dual citizen from becoming a lawmaker in the Legislature.

The SJB submitted its own version of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to Parliament on 17 May. 

(JK)