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20A will create a President who is not accountable to anyone – Karu Jayasuriya

Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

ECONOMYNEXT- Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is saying that the 20th Amendment to the constitution would make the President a ruler who will not be accountable to the Constitution, the Parliament or the people of the country.

Jayasuriya who is now the leader of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) was speaking at an event held this morning in Colombo in collaboration with members of the Opposition in Parliament representing various parties against the 20th Amendment.

Jayasuriya said that Members of the Parliament will also not hold accountability to the people as they become puppets under the Executive through the 20th amendment.

“When looking at the powers given to a single person through the 20th amendment, there is no reason for an ordinary person not to fear it,” he said.

He added since 1978 when J.R. Jayawardena brought the Presidential Constitution, the promise of abolishing executive presidency was made at every presidential election but the talk was limited to the elections.

Jayasuriya said that instead of the saying that the current government has got a mandate of 6.9 million voters to change the constitution, the government should discuss and create a good constitution considering the opinion of the 6.2 million voters who did not vote for them.

He said government should not tarnish the reputation they gained after successfully controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and bring all the drug dealers before the law.

Also, speaking at the event General Secretary of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that the government is trying to go for a monarchy sidelining the MPs and ministers who were elected by the people.

Further, he said by removing over 120 institutions that have being Gazetted under the President and Prime Minister from being audited, it has created a situation where those institutions could be audited by private audit firms of their choice.

He also added that the SJB has already organised a rally to protest against the 20th amendment at Hyde Park on October 8 to which they intend to bring people from all around the country.

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SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne who also spoke at the event said that when the 1978 constitution was brought in many in the opposition at that time including the current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Cabinet Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara protested against the executive presidency which was brought from that constitution.

Senaratne said that the reasoning most of the members in the government says against 19the amendment is that it was brought against the Rajapaksa family.

He said one of the main reasons put forwarded by them for it is the issue of dual citizenship.

“Which citizen of this country would like to elect the President or a Member of Parliament who is a citizen of another country. We don’t say that 19th amendment to the constitution is the supreme constitution but it is the best constitution which was created in this country,” he said.

He also added that only the17th and 19th amendments to the constitution was brought in for the good of the people and all the other amendments were brought in for the betterment of the rulers. (Colombo, September 29, 2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe