The 20th Amendment Bill – Lest We Forget

The 19th Amendment transformed the office of President, which was previously vested with absolute executive power, into a constitutional Head of State who was required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Constitutional Council in respect of his constitutional functions. It also required the Cabinet of Ministers to be drawn only from among Members of Parliament. Nevertheless, this transitional provision empowered President Sirisena, who was not a Member of Parliament, to appoint himself as a Minister, and to hold three Ministries including the vitally important one of Defence. It was a recipe for disaster, which led not only to regular conflicts between the leaders of the coalition government, but also to the tragic April 21st massacre. The 20th Amendment Bill does not seek to address any of these or other deficiencies. Instead it seeks to restore the original 1978 Constitution

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