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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Abolish executive presidency, Sri Lanka opposition leader says in fiery speech

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka must abolish the all-powerful executive presidency within the week and strengthen parliament without paving the way to a similarly dictatorial premiership while ensuring adequate checks and balances, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.

In a fiery, strongly-worded speech in parliament on Tuesday, Premadasa said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the entire government must resign.

“The time has come to change the executive presidency. Let us use this opportunity,” he said, to applause from MPs of his party.

Addressing prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa directly, Premadasa said certain government MPs opposed giving him more powers when drafting the 20th amendment to the constitution.

The amendment restored the powers taken away from the presidency by the previous 19th amendment that was passed under the Yahapalana government of President Maithripala Siresena, who incidentally called for the reinstatement of the 19th amendment with further amendments on Tuesday.


Bring back 19th amendment, rescind 20th: Sri Lanka former president Sirisena

The opposition leader said it is abundantly clear that rather than just rescinding the 20th amendment, the entire executive presidency should be abolished.

“But that doesn’t mean a prime minister that can do whatever he wants either. There needs to be checks and balances,” he said.

Referring to the wave of public protests seen islandwide against the government’s handling of Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis, Premadasa said the on-the-ground demand is for President Rajapaksa and the entire government to step down.

“This government must resign from president downwards. That’s the reality.”

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader said he doesn’t believe that not all MPs in the government are bad or that all MPs in the opposition  are good, and that smart, capable people exist on both sides that can form an intelligent team that can see Sri Lanka through the present crisis.

“I don’ t think this country deteriorated over 74 years [since Independence]. If that’s true, then free education has been a sham, as was [the Mahapoloa university scholarship] and even winning the 30-year war,” he said.

As government MPs attempted to heckle him, Premadasa said, somewhat uncharacteristically: “We have no problem recognising good thigns. You have no backbone to acknowledge the good done by our side. Spineless group, listen to what I’m saying without shouting like idiots.”

Premadasa also rejected a call by President Rajapaksa for an interim administration with representation from all parties.

“We must unite, clearly. But not for position, and we cannot allow a 113MP majority to be formed again to ruin the country once again. Let’s unite on a principle that will see our country’s problems resolved,” he said.

“I’m also open to being criticised by our people. There will be no disciplinary inquiries; no one will be removed from the party,” he added, pointing to his own MPs, seeming responding to speculation of factionalisation within the SJB.

“We won’t accept interim cabinet ministries; we won’t participate in ministerial musical chairs,” he said, adding that the SJB MPs have no desire for power or position.

“Our team has no desire to wear presidential or ministerial mantles. We will come with the blessings of the people, not for power and privileges,” he said.

The opposition leader called for a proposal in parliament to abolish the executive presidency this week.

“Let’s use everything at our disposal and do it this week if we can – we actually can; wasn’t [former Chief Justice] Shirani Bandaranaike ousted in a matter of hours? – let’s begin the process of abolishing the executive presidency this very week,” he said. (Colombo/Apr05/2022)

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  1. Dhanya Wijesuriya says:

    Super – let’s do it

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  1. Dhanya Wijesuriya says:

    Super – let’s do it

Sri Lanka shares edge up at close

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares edged up on Wednesday pushed as investors bought in to beaten down shares following the previous session’s drop, market analyst said.“

At this price level what we are seeing is a lot of confidence from the investors to collect when the prices drop. So, the market is not falling sharply,” a market analyst said.

Market had also seen buying in Expolanka shares on speculation that the parent company of SG Holdings was buying back into the shares.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged up by 0.96 percent or 84.96 points to 8,950.01.

The most liquid index S&P SL20 gained 1.27 percent or 35.02 points to 2,799.53.

Banking and Insurance counters had seen interest on the back of positive sentiments from the IMF.

The central bank has said it could cut interest rates in future when the the country sees fall in inflation, which has already started decelerating.

The market saw a turnover of 1.5 billion rupees today,lower than the month’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees and nearly half of 2022 average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees.

The bourse saw a flow of net foreign inflow of 45 million rupees extending the net offshore buying to 1.9 billion so far this year.

Top gainers of the day were Commercial Bank, Expolanka, and Ceylinco Insurance. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)






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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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