Constitutional Reform for ‘System Change’

A peaceful democratic ‘revolution’ is sweeping across Sri Lanka. It is a revolution from below, from the people. It has activated large segments of Sri Lankan people to shed the habits of passive citizenship and transform themselves into active citizens. Sri Lankan citizens have now claimed an assertive role in the democratic process, resisting an authoritarian government, demanding the resignation of governments and its heads, arguing for revamping of parliamentary democracy, and asserting popular sovereignty. 

The protesting young citizens at Gogotagama have also appropriated a cliché that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa introduced as part of his presidential vocabulary – ‘system change.’ They have given this phrase a radical twist proposing a system change of a different kind: a change in the existing system of government, the nature and styles of conducting the affairs of government, and the political culture in which that system is embedded.

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