Rebuild economy, achieve development goals – UNP Chair

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UNP Chairman, Vajira Abeywardena yesterday (30) said politics should be put aside and solutions should be found to overcome the shortages of essential commodities.

He invited party leaders to submit proposals and recommendations to rebuild the economy and to work together to achieve development goals.

Abeywardena said party leaders, people’s representatives and the public were only focused on the 21st Amendment be it in the city or in the village and the cost of living was put to the back burner.

Abeywardena said those who hold dual citizenship must be prevented from being  Parliamentary representatives and from holding high office.

The late President J. R. Jayewardena introduced the Executive Presidency in 1978 to expedite development and resolve the economic and other crises that prevailed at that time. Subsequently, the Constitution was amended by various governments to suit their own agendas. Eventually it lost its original purpose. The MPs turned it into a handicapped Constitution. Seeing these issues, political parties and civil society are of the stance that the Executive Presidency must be abolished and the parliamentary system be given more powers, he said.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who came to power pledging to repeal the Executive Presidency, however did not do it. Presidents who followed also promised but it has still not been abolished, Abeywardena said.

Under the 100-day programme of the National United Front-led good governance government, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised that he would take action to repeal the Executive Presidency. He referred to Article 85 of the Constitution to abolish the Executive Presidency. Unfortunately, it did not happen and the Executive Presidency is still functioning, Abeywardena said.

By Naalir Jamaldeen