(Lanka-e-News- 04.Sep.2020, 8.45PM) The 20th amendment which makes the premier a beggar, parliament, the judicial services commission and ministers a puppet, thus giving more powers to the presidency than JR did has been released removing the 19th amendment which transferred the dictatorial powers of JR’s 1978 constitution to the premier and the parliament which lead the country towards democracy.
Although a cabinet subcommittee was appointed at the first cabinet meeting of the new government to draft the 20th amendment and draft a new constitution, even before the committee met once, the Ministry of Justice submitted a 41-page 20th amendment to the Attorney General, the Attorney General read all 41 pages in two days and announced yesterday (02) the 22nd that a referendum on the amendment is unnecessary and a two-thirds majority in Parliament would suffice. It was referred to the Cabinet yesterday and it was approved by the Cabinet yesterday. Last night, (02) the relevant gazette notification was published as the “20th amendment to the Constitution”.
Thus, the Prime Minister is not elected by a majority in Parliament, but nominated as puppets such as Wijetunga and DM Jayaratne, who are appointed by the President as he pleases.
The prime minister cannot choose a cabinet of his choice and the president appoints all ministers. With a single letter from the President, the portfolios of the ministers can be removed and the ministries can be changed. Institutions owned by Ministers can be changed by a Presidential Gazette Notification without the approval of the Minister. Secretaries to the ministries are also appointed by the President.
The president is not accountable to parliament. But he is the head of the cabinet. The president can hold any number of ministerial posts. The right to file a fundamental rights lawsuit against the President has been revoked and no lawsuit can be filed against the President. There is something that was not even in JR's constitution. That is, after the end of the President's immunity, he would be deprived of the right to sue for what he did during his tenure. Even if the president resigns and loses his immunity, he cannot be prosecuted or charged for what he did.
JR's constitution gave the president the right to dissolve parliament two years after parliament was elected. On the 19th it was extended to six months before the end of Parliament, but in this it has been reduced to just one year, surpassing JR. Accordingly, if a Parliament is elected which the President does not digest, the President has the powers to dissolve it within a year.
Parliament would not be dissolve even if the throne speech is defeated or a budget or a monetary bill is defeated. If a budget or a fiscal bill loses, one can bring a second. Parliament will be only dissolved only if the second bill is defeated.
The 19th Amendment specified the number of ministerial posts, but this has removed. President could appoint as many ministers, deputy ministers, and state ministers as he wished.
The Independent 'Constitutional Council', which approves appointments to higher posts, has been abolished and replaced by another puppet body called the 'Parliamentary Council'. The three independent members of the Constituent council, as well as minority party representation in parliament, have been removed from the new 'parliamentary council.
The 'Parliamentary council' consists of only five members: the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister's Representative (must be a Member of Parliament) and the representative of the leader of the Opposition (must be a Member of Parliament).
The approval of the President is not required for the 'approval' of high ranking positions. All what is needed is an 'observation'. That would be just a rubber stamp on presidential appointments.
The appointment of members of the two commissions, the National Procurement Commission, which approves large tenders, and the Audit Service Commission, which curbs corruption, does not require the oversight of the parliamentary council. All of them are directly appointed by the President.
Accordingly, the Chief Justice, Judges of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeal, Auditor General, Attorney General, Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission, Bribery Commission, Human Rights Commission, Finance Commission, Chairmen of the Demarcation Commission including the chairman and members of all commissions too are appointed by the President.
The power to approve transfers of police officers held by the Police Commission too has been abolished.
There are other interesting revisions as well.
The age limit for contesting a presidential election has been reduced from 35 to 30 years.
If the President seeks the opinion of the Supreme Court on any bill, it must be granted within three days.
As everyone thought, the inability of dual citizens to hold a parliamentary seat has been removed.
The full text of the 20th Amendment can be read below.
Translated by Robinhood
by (2020-09-04 15:29:44)
Leave a Reply
0 discussion on this news