Sri Lanka President asks legislators to vote for constitutional change

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena asked all legislators to vote for a constitutional change that will reduce executive powers and make the public service more independent.

"This is a historic chance to increase the freedom of the people," President Sirisena said in a televised address.

"I am asking all members of parliament to use their vote and earn the respect of the people."

The 19th amendment to the constitution which will establish a constitutional council to make senior appointment, reduce the term of the presidency and re-establish a two term limit is scheduled to be put to the vote next Tuesday.

His own Sri Lanka Freedom Party has been asking for a constitutional and electoral change for decades. The United National Party has agreed for a constitutional change from 1999. Many other smaller parties have been asking for a change for a long time.

Though his own party had put the abolition of the executive presidency on the manifesto it has not been done earlier, or not allowed to be done.

He said there can be no reason for anyone not to vote for the constitutional change.

President Sirisena said the Supreme Court has given a decision on what can be changed with the vote and he was going along with it.

Though he was accused of not being a strong leader, he said perhaps no other leader who had such sweeping powers was not using them and was willing to give it away.

Within 100 days of coming to power, he had been able to re-build ties with the international community and follow a non-aligned policy that espoused friendship with all countries.
 

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