The Last Days of the Nineteenth Amendment?

These could be the last days of the Nineteenth Amendment. If not of its entirety, at least of a part of it, even a substantial part of it. The message that the Nineteenth Amendment retards effective governance and should be thrown out has reverberated strongly, especially since the Presidential election last year. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has had enough of it. So, it may go.

The Nineteenth Amendment was possible due to many reasons. A majority of the voting population demanded some reformation of the structure of constitutional governance that prevailed at the time. The Executive President was considered to be too powerful; the President’s powers had to be trimmed. There was a need for a framework that established more independent institutions. Some enhancement of the rights of citizens was also expected. Such demands gradually transformed into a grand political promise. When the time was ripe, when the election had arrived, that promise was best articulated by the movements which opposed the rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The movements that opposed him were many; their ambitions, varied and even conflicting. But the Nineteenth Amendment gave expression to some of the basic aims and desires of the majority that voted at the Presidential election in 2015. Without this popular support, the Nineteenth Amendment, or anything like it, would not have been possible.

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