Cabinet approves 21A

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The Cabinet of Ministers, which met last afternoon, has on principle approved the 21st Amendment presented by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

According to sources, an eleventh-hour amendment to the 21st Amendment too was presented to the Cabinet.

“It was decided to proceed with what was presented, and Justice Minister Rajapakshe assured to provide the complete document of 21st Amendment to all before the next Cabinet meeting. It was also agreed to take a final confirmation on the draft at the next Cabinet meeting with all the amendments,” sources added.

Minister Rajapakshe said, following Cabinet approval, the draft will be forwarded to the Attorney General, and the gazette notification will be published. He also noted that, despite SLPP MPs’ objections to the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, the majority of MPs wanted the draft to be passed in Parliament as soon as possible.

The Minister said the 21st Amendment will do more to establish democracy than the 19th Amendment.

The 21st Amendment was initially presented to Cabinet on 23 May, following a meeting of the Constitution Amendment Drafting Committee.

Cabinet decided to distribute copies of the amendment to party leaders for their perusal. The amendment was discussed before being sent back to Cabinet for final approval.

After repealing the 19th Amendment, the 21st Amendment is expected to nullify the 20th Amendment, which granted the President unlimited powers.

(KH)