A case against 2/3 majority

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the fellow travellers of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) are asking for a two-thirds majority in the general election. For what? They want to abolish the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the few progressive constitutional provisions to be adopted in the independent history. (It moderated the excesses of the executive presidency). Mr. Rajapaksa also wants to introduce a new constitution. But, he has not said what would be in it. The sheer absence of detail is disturbing. The arbitrariness with which it would be deliberated is terrifying. Its implications for the democracy of the country would be crippling.   

Except in a democratic decay, you don’t canvas for a new constitution, the mother of all laws of the land, without telling your voters about its basic tenets. ( This is not altogether new, though: the Parliamentarians of the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa administration placed their signature in a blank paper that would later become the impeachment motion of the then chief justice)   

Information is crucial in making an educated decision, not least when it pertains to the Constitution of the country. Responsible political leadership would have presented an elementary draft of the key elements of the purported new constitution. Instead, Mr. Rajapaksa and his coterie are prodding the public to vote for something that would make fundamental changes to the fabric of the Republic, without telling as to what those changes would look like.


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