Strengthening parliamentary committees is critical for making 21A meaningful

The proposed 21 st. Constitutional Amendment (21A), which is meant to reduce the powers of the Executive President and enhance those of parliament, will be of no use if parliament continues to be lackadaisical in making use of the powers that it already has, or if the parliamentary committees have built-in weaknesses.

One of the significant ideas mooted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is the need to strengthen parliament vis-à-vis the Executive Presidency in matters of public finance to enable it to exercise its constitutional prerogative to control public finance.

In his speech in parliament on May 29, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted the flaws in parliament’s functioning. He said: “The functioning of parliament has been paralyzed due to the weakening of parliamentary powers by the 20th Amendment. The Executive has been given more powers. The main allegation today is that parliament has not acted to prevent the economic crisis.  There is an allegation that even though the ruling party had a majority in parliament they neglected the work of parliament. Everything was systematically controlled by the Cabinet Ministers.”

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