Published On: Mon, Jul 25th, 2016

Executive Presidency should go: President

755c9ecacf3f854ca4f4c8d1c12ddfc0_LPresident Maithripala Sirisena yesterday reiterated that he will continue to set in motion measures to abolish the Executive Presidency and introduce a new constitution. The President said that he always believed the Executive Presidency which has vast powers should go and added that this has to be done constitutionally.

Speaking at a ceremony in Kegalle to commemorate Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake, the President said the unity government of the SLFP and the UNP has identified the necessary changes that should be made to ensure lasting socio-economic growth and added that obstacles will not deter the government from introducing them.

He said those who screamed for the overhaul of the constitution has now taken an about turn when the government was taking measures to do that.

He added that this showed they were only interested in petty political gain.

“Former Prime Minster Sirimavo Bandaranaike and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga always wanted the 1978 constitution overhauled.

When the former President contested in the 2005 and 2010 elections, his manifesto promised to change the constitution. So why are they opposing such changes now when we are trying to do it,” the President questioned.

President Sirisena said during the Rajapaksa era he had given a paper to the former President stating the changes that should be made for the betterment of the country.

The President said Rajapaksa had ignored them and had decided to hold the Presidential polls two years prior to the expiration of his second term.

President Sirisena pointed out there were several reasons for holding early polls and added that the report which was to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015 was one of that.

The President said he had not only defeated Rajapaksa at the polls but also had faced the human rights allegations successfully.

“We were able to postpone the tabling of the report at the UNHRC from March to September. The international community was satisfied with the measures taken by the new government,” he added.

Speaking about the measures taken by his government to combat fraud and corruption, President Sirisena assured that the government will not hesitate to punish all corrupt politicians and officials.

He said politicians should take the brunt of the blame as most of the time officials were acting on their wishes.

The President stressed that if such charges can be proved the government will not hesitate to take the strictest action possible irrespective of the status of the individuals.

He also praised Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake as an exemplary politician and gentleman whom others should emulate.

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