MP Bandula Gunawardana says that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa informed the JVP that the Joint Opposition is ready to support the bid to abolish the Executive Presidency.
The JVP signaled its intention to bring in a 20th Amendment to the Constitution in an effort to completely do away with the Executive Presidency in a media briefing at JVP headquarters in March 2018.
Party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had said that the political setting was ripe to bring an amendment to the Constitution.
MP Dissanayake had commented that : “Currently there is political turmoil in the country. Similar instances in the past have seen important, socially beneficial legislation being enacted. In 2001, a host of Government MPs sat in the Opposition, destabilising the Government. The JVP capitalised on that opportunity to bring in the people-conscious 17th Amendment to the Constitution. However, in 2010 that was annulled and the 18th Amendment was brought in by then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In 2015, the Unity Government overturned the 18th Amendment with the 19th Amendment. Similarly, we plan on abolishing the Executive Presidency by bringing in the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, using the instability of the Government to our advantage.”
He also said that one of the issues to consider is the enactment process. “The approval of a two-thirds majority in Parliament is needed for this Amendment to be passed. The support of other MPs will be needed at this point. In addition, if the Supreme Court decided, we may have to hold a referendum.”
Pointing out that the JVP has been calling for the elimination of the Executive since the first Executive President was appointed, MP Dissanayake asserted that neither the UNP nor President Maithripala Sirisena had any intention of ridding the country of the Executive Presidency.
With the possible support of the Joint Opposition who claim they may support the JVP in its bid to abolish the Executive Presidency, this could bring in yet another twist to current political turmoil prevailing in the country.