The JVP will submit written proposals to the Ministry of Justice
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Some political parties, represented in Parliament, have stressed the need to ensure that the 21st Amendment to the Constitution does not contain provisions requiring public approval in a referendum. Gevindu Cumaratunga has taken this position in recent meetings chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Minister of Justice, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, was present at both meetings which were also attended by senior representatives of political parties. Of the 15 political parties represented in parliament, only the JVP led by Jathika Jana Balavegaya (JJB) refused to join the process. led by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. The JJB parliamentary group includes three deputies, including a member of the national list.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told The Island that they would not attend meetings chaired by the UNP leader. After questioning the circumstances under which Wickremesinghe was given the premiership, lawmaker Dissanayake said his observations would be submitted to the Justice Department. political parties represented in Parliament. MP Kumaratunga from the SLPP national list said this on behalf of eight political parties. Among them, seven participated in the last general elections on the SLPP ticket or received places on the national SLPP list. The SLFP, the largest party in the rebel group with 14 seats in Parliament is not part of the eight-party grouping.
Lawmaker Cumaratunga pointed out that the success of the project largely depended on the preparation of the proposed 21st Amendment based on a consensus reached through the ongoing consultation process. motion that required both 2/3 and approval in a referendum, the party was represented at both meetings. SJB Secretary General Ranjith Mandumma Bandara, MP, and lawyer Suren Fernando, who had been a candidate on the SJB national list, represented the party.
Yuthukama Chief Cumaratunga said the justice minister explained key issues during the talks, including who would exercise the power to appoint the cabinet and whether the president could remove the prime minister. The civil society activist said reaching an agreement on the 21st Amendment was a prerequisite for a broader discussion on a new Constitution. MP Cumaratunga pointed out that the SLPP had received mandates in the last presidential and legislative elections in November 2019 and August 2020 for the introduction of a new Constitution. This mandate could not be ignored, but the immediate requirement was to pass the 21st Amendment, MP Cumaratunga said, urging all political parties to compromise on their respective demands.
SLPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Professor GL Peiris and Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena, who represented the ruling SLPP at the June 3 meeting, said the president should retain the power to appoint and dismiss the Cabinet of Ministers. The SLPP said the president should also have the power to impeach the prime minister. After making the request in writing, Ministers Peiris and Gunawardena left the meeting. Political sources said the TNA which did not attend the May 27 meeting chaired by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was present at the June 3 all-party discussion. The TNA strongly suggested the abolition of the executive presidency. The TNA’s position received support from the SLMC although several other political parties argued that provisions that would require a referendum should not be included in the proposed 21st Amendment.
SLPP MP, Rear Admiral (Retired) Sarath Weerasekera, told a recent meeting co-chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremeisnghe at the President’s House that he would under no circumstances support the 21 amendment. Lawmaker Weerasekera told the assembly that the proposed amendment was contrary to the two mandates received by the SLPP in the presidential and parliamentary elections. The Island questions, the former public security minister challenged the president’s right to pursue strategies at the expense of political stability.
In the meantime, the splinter group SLPP, in response to the request of the Minister of Justice, submitted its proposals in writing concerning the proposed 21st amendment. The rebels demanded the inclusion of what they called key proposals: (1) The people should have the right to challenge in the Supreme Court amendments to a bill at the committee stage within one month after the President approves this bill (2) All bilateral agreements and multilateral agreements should receive parliamentary approval (3) Structural changes in state enterprises should be submitted with the approval of Parliament (4) The Public Procurement Commission should be expanded to investigate investments in strategic areas such as ports and airports. Agreements on these assets, once approved by the Public Procurement Commission, must be subject to the approval of Parliament (5) The Prime Minister must be a member of the National Security Council (6) The President can only hold the portfolio and (7) Ministers shall be given the right to ask the police commission and the public service commission the basis on which a particular decision was made. They have the privilege of receiving a response from both commissions within two weeks.
The Rebels also suggested some critical changes regarding the 21st draft in its current form. Regarding (1) 41 A (1) e, the three persons (non-members of Parliament) appointed to the Constitutional Council should consist of a businessman or a director of a company appointed by the Chamber of Commerce of Ceylon, a group of designated professionals and a professor. appointed by the University Grants Commission on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellors of the Universities. (2) 41 B (3) Development of a procedure for the Constitutional Council to receive the names of those who will be recommended to the President for positions on various committees. MPs should have the right to appoint members of committees (3) 41 (B) (3) formulation of criteria for the appointment of members of various committees (4) 44 (1) amended with the written consent of the Prime Minister to the Instead of Prime Minister’s advice (5) 44 (2) amended with Prime Minister’s written consent instead of Prime Minister’s consent (6) 45 (1) amended with Prime Minister’s written consent instead of prime minister’s advice (7) 45(2) amended as with the written consent of the prime minister instead of prime minister’s advice (8) 46(1) as amended with the written consent of the prime minister instead in the opinion of the Prime Minister (9) 50 (1) modified with the written agreement of the Prime Minister instead of the opinion of the Prime Minister (10 ) 153 C (a) specific deadline for the Constitutional Council to fulfill its obligations which had not been previously addressed (11) 155 G provision allowing the Police Commission to investigate complaints received against officers in case of senior officers failed to do so (12) 155 H (3) Police Commission to fulfill its obligations which had been previously ignored (13) 155 K (4) Police Commission to fulfill its obligations which had previously overlooked (14) 156 (C)1 criteria for promotion of domestic production/services should be included in the overall procurement process (14) 156 (C)1 The Procurement Commission should fulfill its obligations relating to the declaration of the relevant regulations within a given period (15) 35 (1) to delete the provisions relating to the provisional arrangements relating to the life of the Parliament as well as to the Presidency since the proposed amendment did not deal with the two questions and (16) 36(b) abolition of the parliamentary seat of dual citizens immediately after the enactment of the 21st Amendment.
The rebel group pointed out that the 21st Amendment in its current form would allow a dual citizen to retain both the seat and ministerial portfolios for a period of three months by not running for parliament.