ECONOMYNEXT – The ongoing campaign to protect the 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution will result in a third consecutive defeat of the opposition, a government spokesman said.
Speaking to reporters today, co-cabinet spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the newly elected Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) government has a mandate to abolish the 19th amendment, which was one of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s chief campaign promises.
For the first time in history under the current proportional representation system, voters have given the SLPP a two-thirds parliamentary majority for exactly this purpose, said Rambukwella.
The campaign to protect the constitutional amendment, he said, will see opposition’s third consecutive defeat, having already been routed at the parliamentary elections in August this year and the presidential polls in November last year.
“That is the result the opposition is faced with if it goes against the people’s mandate,” he said.
Defending the support extended to the 19th amendment by United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MPs at the time it was passed in the previous parliament, Rambukwella said the MPs did so on the assurance that then President Maithripala Sirisena would introduce a proposed 20th amendment a week after the 19th was passed.
“I personally requested him to bring those bills together. However, the president said they’d bring them the following week and to trust him as he was the president of the country,” he said.
Rambukwella further said that the constitution is not something set in stone.
“Nobody thought there would be a COVID-19 pandemic; so if there are new things that should be brought in relation to that then a fair opportunity should be given,” he added. (Colombo/Aug27/2020)