President promised to remove Clause from new Constitution – NFF, PHU
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
The National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (22), said they decided to vote for the 20th Amendment Bill, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had given an assurance to them that the Clause allowing dual citizens to enter Parliament, which will be enacted through the 20th Amendment, would be removed from the new Constitution that will be enacted next year.
During a Media briefing which was attended by Parliamentarians Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Professor Tissa Vitharana and Weerasumana Weerasinghe, NFF and PHU Leaders and Ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila, respectively, said the President held a discussion with the Government Party Leaders on 21 October and made an emotional appeal that the Clause in the 19th Amendment was brought targeting him, to prevent him from contesting the Presidential Election. Gammanpila said the President requested them to give their support to abolish that Clause from the Constitution. However, the President pledged that the Clause would be included in the new Constitution.
“The President agreed with all of the other requests that we made, such as that the passing of emergency Bills be limited to facts relevant to national security, giving power to the Auditor General to audit public institutions and keeping the limitation on the number of Ministers. Therefore, we decided to vote for the 20th Amendment,” he added.
However, as a Party, the PHU is against allowing duel citizens to enter Parliament and we will always adhere to that principle, he said.
Weerawansa said: “Earlier, we decided to support the 20th Amendment as a whole while voting against the Clause about allowing duel citizens to enter Parliament, during the Committee Stage debate. But the President pledged that the Clause will be abolished in the new Constitution. He also said Justice Minister, M.U.M. Ali Sabry PC would mention that in his reply speech at the end of the debate. So we changed our earlier decision.”
Nanayakkara, Prof. Vitharana and Weerasinghe also expressed the same views as Gammanpila and Weerawansa. They said they have full confidence about the President’s word.