Executive powers to be slashed under new constitutional reforms?

Executive powers to be slashed under new constitutional reforms?

February 27, 2015   04:24 pm

According to the proposed constitutional reforms currently under discussion, the President will always act on the advice of the Prime Minister, however may request the Prime Minister to reconsider advice given to him and request Parliament to reconsider a Bill presented to him for assent, sources said.

The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution primarily aimed at abolishing executive presidency in the country is expected be tabled in Parliament next month.

President Maithripala Sirisena had pledged greater democratic reforms in his election manifesto as the opposition unity candidate. His 100-day programme envisages to slash the authoritarian powers of his predecessors.

According to information received by Ada Derana, the following proposals for constitutional reform are currently under discussion by the political parties represented in parliament:

The President will be the Head of State, the Head of the Executive and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.  

The President shall always, except in the case of the appointment of the Prime Minister or as otherwise required by the Constitution, act on the advice of the Prime Minister or of such other Minister as has been authorized by the Prime Minister.

The President may require the Prime Minister and such Minister to reconsider advice given to him and may require Parliament to reconsider a Bill presented to him for assent.

He shall act on advice given after reconsideration and shall give assent to a Bill passed after reconsideration.

Presidential immunity does not extend to acts or omissions of the President in his official capacity. The Speaker/Chair of the Council of State shall act for the President.

The term of office of the President shall be 5 years. Mode of election of the President will not be changed. This will be a matter for the next Parliament. The President may be removed by passing a no- confidence motion with a 2/3 majority. Present impeachment provisions will be deleted.

The Prime Minister will be the Head of the Government. The President shall appoint as Prime Minster the Member of Parliament, who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.

The President may also appoint a Deputy Prime Minister on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The number of Ministers shall not exceed 30. The total number of Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers shall not exceed 40.

Where the parties with the highest and second highest number of seats agree to take part in a Government of National Unity, Parliament may bring a resolution to increase the above mentioned numbers to not more than 45 and 55 respectively for the duration of the Government of National Unity.

The term of Parliament shall be 05 years. Parliament may be dissolved during the first 4 years and 6 months only upon a resolution to that effect being passed by a 2/3 majority.

Provisions relating to the Constitutional Council (CC) and independent institutions, repealed by the 18th Amendment, will be reinstated subject to certain changes.

The Audit Service Commission and the National Procurement Commission are added to the list of independent institutions. The CC shall obtain the views of the Chief Justice, the Minister of Justice, the Attorney-General and the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka when considering appointments to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Bills shall be published in the Gazette 14 days before the first reading. Bills will be certified by the President. There will be no urgent Bills.

The members of the Public Service Commission, National Police Commission, Human Rights Commission, Commission to investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and Finance Commission, shall cease to hold office on the date on which the 19th Amendment becomes law.


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