JVP vows to fight moves to abolish 19A

  • Will join opposition forces in new Parliament to block any repeal of 19A
  • Says repealing 19A will roll back democratic gains 
  • Cites independent commissions and CC scrutiny of senior State-level appointees as positives
  • Expresses concern about too many ex-military personnel appointments under new administration
  • Wants more robust COVID-19 Govt. support for companies and employees

By Chandani Kirinde 

Senior member of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and former Gampaha District MP Vijitha Herath said that the Party would not allow the repeal of the 19th Amendment to Constitution and would join forces with any Party in the next Parliament to block any such moves, this week.

National People’s Power Gampaha district candidate Vijitha Herath – Pic by 

Ruwan Walpola

“The 19th Amendment is a big step in the right direction for democracy in the country. Abolishing the 19th Amendment would mean the country would take a few steps backwards. The 19A has its shortcomings but these can be amended. Abolishing it is out of the question. We will not allow it to happen,” Herath said in an interview with the Daily FT. He said the independent commissions that were set up under the 19A have functioned effectively and cited the National Election Commission (NEC) as a good example of a state institution functioning free of political interference and pressures.

“We can see how elections are conducted in a far more peaceful manner with election related violence and malpractices on the decline. It is due to the 19A that the EC has been able to function without politicians exerting pressure on its members,” he said.

Herath said the same goes for the appointment of members to senior positions including the judiciary. “Such appointments were done at the whim and fancy of the President before 19A, but now it goes through the Constitutional Council,” he said.

The JVP member said that if any moves are made to roll back the gains made towards strengthening democracy in the country under the previous government, his Party would join anyone to fight against them. 

“In such an instance, we will put aside political differences and fight together. We cannot allow a slide back to a one man show,” he said. The former MP also raised concerns over the appointment of former military officers as heads of important government institutions and said this move has led to disquiet within the state sector employees.

“Many public sector workers are uneasy and unhappy as there is a way the administrative system in the county works and that must be respected. Even though public sector workers have remained subdued in the face of such appointments, it is likely things will erupt after the election,” he said.

Herath said this kind of appointments are a threat to the civil administration of the country as well as to democracy in the country.

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