The UNP said yesterday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was disqualified from contesting for a third term and the Election Commissioner was legally empowered to reject his nomination papers.
Member of the UNP Leadership Council and Constitutional Lawyer Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa MP addressing the media in Colombo, noted that when the 18th Amendment was introduced in September 2010, the incumbent President according to the Constitution had already been elected for two terms and was debarred from seeking re-election.
He said that the law was quite clear and any amendment was applicable to a future President and not the incumbent, who in this case was Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Election Commissioner could obtain the Attorney General’s advice and reject President Rajapaksa’s nomination paper if he decided to contest a third time, but the question was whether he would be able to obtain an independent opinion, Wijeyadasa said, adding that the AG’s Department which had remained independent since 1833, was, for the first time in Sri Lankan history, brought under the President’s office by the UPFA government.
“Can you expect the AG who is now an employee of the President to rule against his boss?”
The MP said that a motion introduced by him in Parliament in terms of the Latimer House Principles to make the Superior Courts independent had been struck down by the UPFA government. The President being the head of the Commonwealth should have ensured its passage, but instead he did not allow it go beyond the presentation stage, the UNP MP said.