“13th Amendment will be implemented preserving the unitary character of the constitution.”
- —Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in parliament
New Government in Sri Lanka will restore democratic checks and balances after a decade of authoritarian rule
By Siva Sivapragasam
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the new government will restore democratic checks and balances after a decade of increasingly authoritarian rule under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first parliamentary address after assuming office in the new administration headed by President Maithripala Sirisena — said the Government would preserve the unitary character of the Constitution when introducing constitutional reforms.
He further remarked that the 13th Amendment will be implemented preserving the unitary character of the constitution.
Referring to the emergence of a new concept in Sri Lankan politics, he said the stage had been set for a novel political culture and his government intended to engage in consensus politics rather than adopting a confrontational approach in achieving the targets set out in the 100-day programme in the greater interest of the country. He also stated that the present executive presidency will exercise executive power with cabinet and Parliament.
He outlined the plan for the execution of the 100-day programme and said the Government would introduce the 19th Amendment to the Constitution for the establishment of independent commissions which were rendered worthless under the 18th Amendment. The Prime Minister said fresh constitutional reforms would be enacted to transfer the executive powers to the Legislature and the Cabinet during this period.
“We will introduce these reforms while preserving the unitary character of the Constitution, Wickremesinghe remarked.
“Autocracy has been removed and democracy restored”, stated Wickremesinghe. Highlighting the fact that even the Tamil and Muslim parties have extended their support to the national government “in the best interest of the nation”, he urged all the political parties to make best use of the atmosphere to achieve the common goal.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s speech in Parliamant has made the new Government’s approach towards good Governance clear. The days of the white van abductions are over, freedom of speech and movement guaranteed, and the right to dissent allowed.
The new Government is making one thing crystal clear ““People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.