Sri Lankan Parliament amends constitution to reduce President’s power

Sri Lankan Parliament has amended the constitution to reduce the power of Executive President and to put into place a Constitutional Council for making key government appoints.

In this regard, the Parliament has adopted 19th (19A) Amendment of the Constitution. The reform amendment bill overwhelmingly received 215 votes in favour and just one vote against it in the 225-member assembly.

The bill brings reforms to

  • Ensure an independent judiciary and police.
  • Curbs and checks President’s power to dissolve the parliament.
  • Two-term limit of Presidents is restored.
  • The term of the President is reduced from 6 to 5 years.

This amendment will also now put into place several independent commissions that will handle key areas of governance such as elections, public service, police and the judiciary and will function outside the influence of the Executive.

Background

The 19th Amendment of the Constitution reversers the changes in constitution made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had accumulated large powers during his decade-long stint as President.

Incumbent Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during his presidential election campaign (which ousted Rajapaksa) had pledged key reforms in the country and to curtail excessive powers of the presidency.

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Categories: India Current Affairs 2017

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