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Friday, 20 February 2015 12:01

Prime Minister spells out constitutional reforms

Published in Provincial News

The draft 19th Amendment to the Constitution will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval during the first week of March, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared yesterday.

He further said the government has been discussing the proposed amendment to the Constitution with political parties in Parliament.

 

The Prime Minister expressed hope that all political parties will support this important piece of legislation to be adopted in the legislature providing more benefits to the people and the country at large.

 

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the new government's main focus is to remove the excessive powers of the President and ensure governance by a Cabinet of Ministers led by the Prime Minister responsible to Parliament through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

 

He added that the President shall be responsible and answerable to Parliament for the due exercise, performance and discharge of his powers under Article 42 of the Constitution and the government expects to limit his excessive powers by bringing in a sub clause to Article 42 without going for a referendum.

 

The Prime minister was speaking at the opening of the Dematagoda New Market Complex constructed by the Colombo Municipal Council at a cost of Rs. 100 million.

 

He added that the government will bring in a sub clause to Article 42 of the Constitution to pave the way for the President to be responsible and answerable to Parliament to discharge his powers on the instructions of the Prime Minister. Following the introduction of the 19th Amendment, the executive powers of the President will be exercised by a Cabinet of Ministers responsible and answerable to the Legislature though certain powers will be left for incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena as he was elected Executive President of Sri Lanka with the agreement of other parties.

 

The Prime Minister added that a future President will not be entitled to these powers.

 

He said the 17th Amendment to the Constitution will be restored empowering all independent commissions including the National Police Commission, Bribery Commission and the Public Service Commission.

 

The Prime Minister added that a State Advisory Council will also be set up with an objective to provide guidance to the government.

 

Politicians who were defeated by the people will not be accommodated in this council. A mechanism has to be evolved to appoint individuals of high calibre to this council, he said.

 

Premier Wickremesinghe added that the government will expedite investigations into alleged corruptions and malpractices of the former regime. "We opened a secretariat to investigate corruptions today and a special police unit is to be opened next week to expedite this process," he said. - DN-