If 19A fails to secure 2/3 majority

UNP to push for immediate dissolution!

If the 19th Amendment failed to secure a two thirds majority in Parliament, the United National Party would push for immediate dissolution of Parliament as it is the last resort, a senior Parliamentarian of the UNP told the Daily News yesterday.

The 19th Amendment will be taken for debate in Parliament on April 9 and 10 following the recommendations of the Supreme Court.

Parliament is likely to vote on the constitutional Amendment on April 10. However, the SLFP and the JHU have stated that they would present several key changes to the proposed constitutional amendment. Speaking to the Daily News, UNP General Secretary Minister Kabir Hashim said the UNP would try its best to proceed with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as the new government had a mandate for the process.

“It is up to the SLFP and the JHU to decide whether they should respect the people’s mandate or not. Our duty is to present the 19th Amendment and push for much needed constitutional changes. Those who want to stand in the way of this process should realise that they are going against the people’s mandate,” Minister Hashim said.

2139Mangala_2014_Press_J“The people wanted constitutional amendments. They voted for that. If the process does not happen, the people will give their verdict at the Parliamentary election,” the minister said.

A section of the SLFP and the JHU are expecting to move amendments to the 19th Amendment, especially on its provisions with regard to presidential powers. The JHU said the constitutional amendment, which was presented to Parliament by the government, allowed the Prime Minister to ‘usurp’ the powers of the President.

JHU General Secretary Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who is also a stakeholder of the present government, made several public statements threatening to defeat the 19th Amendment if the UNP attempted to pass it in Parliament without amendments.

Ranawaka yesterday told the media that he had the support of the MPs of the SLFP.

Meanwhile, the SLFP is pushing for simultaneous electoral reforms along with the 19th Amendment.

The SLFP is of the view that in the absence of electoral reforms, the abolition of the Executive Presidency will lead to political instability.

“Look at all the elections that took place under the present electoral system. Over the past 30 years, the government received a clear majority only on two occasions (1989 and 2010). It was the Executive Presidency that ensured political stability when Parliament was not stable. So, if you abolish Executive Presidency, there should be strong measures to ensure political stability. That is why the SLFP is pushing for simultaneous electoral reforms,” Rural Economic Affairs Minister and SLFP Vice Chairman S.B. Dissanayake told the Daily News.