US welcomes passage of 19th Amendment

US welcomes passage of 19th Amendment

April 30, 2015   12:15 pm

The United States had welcomed the passage of Sri Lanka’s landmark 19th Constitutional Amendment Bill (19A), which was adopted Tuesday with an overwhelming majority in Parliament.

At a marathon sitting that lasted over 12 hours, the 225-strong Parliament cleared the Bill with 212 members voting in favour of the legislation, which will prune the powers of the Executive Presidency and set up Independent Commissions to de-politicize major arms of the State such as the judiciary, bureaucracy, police and the Elections Commission.

“We certainly welcome the news of the passage of measures that you mentioned that curb presidential powers as part of the government’s domestic reform agenda. Certainly something we welcome,” Marie Harf, the Acting Spokesperson of the US State Department said.

She was responding to a question from media as to whether the was U.S. satisfied with the pace of reforms that are taking place in Sri Lanka, at a Daily Press Briefing in Washington on Wednesday.

Among the important features of the Bill are: the reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years; re-introduction of a two-term limit that a person can have as President; the power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years [unlike one year, as prevalent now]; the revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.


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