Sri Lanka

Bill passed to curb Presidential powers


Sri Lanka’s parliament has passed the Bill known as the “Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution”.

The Bill was passed with the support of 215 of the 225 members of the parliament. One member voted against, one abstained and seven members were not present.

The new Bill curbs the powers of the President, especially re-instating the two term limit and limiting the powers of patronage through the creation of a number of Commissions covering the police, civil service and judiciary.

The current President, Maithripala Sirisena, was elected in January on a manifesto to remove the executive powers of the President. Although the President still holds executive powers after a Supreme Court ruling forced the original Bill to be watered down, it is a major step forward in reducing the powers of the President.

Presinform, the Presidents media unit said in a press release that the “President thanks all stakeholders who contributed to this effort, including the Maha Sangha, political parties and civil society groups, and active citizens, who struggled for, sustained and enriched the discourse on this amendment. The President specially thanked the Members of Parliament and political parties who supported the amendment.”

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