Dissident MPs hand over proposals to reduce powers of Executive Presidency

  • Proposals handed over to Speaker by SLFP Nimala Siripala de Silva
  • Proposed amendments make it mandatory for President to act on advice of PM
  • Setting up of independent commissions also proposed

Members of the group of 40 MPs who sat in the Opposition this week handed over to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday a draft of the 21st Amendment of the Constitution which seeks to reduce the powers of the Executive President and make the person holding office answerable to Parliament.

The proposals were handed over by SLFP MP Nimal Siripala De Silva as part of an attempt to  introduce a new constitutional amendment to reduce the powers of the Executive and set up independent commissions.

The draft makes it mandatory for the President to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and allows for the removal of the President by a resolution of no confidence which can be passed with half of the MPS voting in its  favour.

The draft proposal also seeks to set up a Constitutional Council which comprises Speaker, Prime Minister, five members appointed by the President on the nomination of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and another member elected by a majority of MPs.

This member will be one who represents a political party or an independent group other than the party or the independent group to which the President and Prime Minister belong to. The Constitutional Council will have the power to recommend appointments including members of the independent commissions.

MP Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha who is part of the group that proposed these amendments said their objective is to bring about checks and balances between the Executive and the Legislature. “People who are staging protests are demanding a system change,” he added.

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