Sri Lanka parliament passes diluted constitutional change

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s Parliament passed a constitutional change, where an attempt to create a fully independent public service was watered down by the opposition, but restored a two term limit for the presidency.

The Parliament passed the amendment with 215 members of the 225 assembly voting for and 1 against in the second reading.

A Constitutional Council that will oversee the public service will have seven politicians and only three independent members, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament.

The Constitutional Council will remain politicized.

Wickramasinghe said he had to give way to the opposition, because he did not have a majority in parliament.

Wickremesinghe said he did not agree that the Constitutional Council went far enough to create an independent public service. After the next election, it should be re-constituted, he said.

A clause relating to the President taking advice from the Prime Minister to appoint minister will also be retained.

The constitutional amendment will also have provisions to restore a two-term limit for the President. It will extend the time the President can dissolve parliament to 4.5 years from the current one year after election.

The cabinet of ministers will be limited to 30. But a large cabinet could be accommodated for ‘national government’ comprising of the two major parties.

The Supreme Court had earlier struck down clauses in the amendment that sought to pass key executive powers to the Prime Minister were struck down by the Supreme Court.






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