Published On: Wed, Dec 19th, 2018

UNP calls on all MPs to vote in favour

The Government yesterday (18), said that it would support the JVP’s motion presented to abolish the Executive Presidency and urged all parties in Parliament to vote in favour of it.

The JVP yesterday (18), moved a motion in Parliament, which called the Executive Presidency to be abolished.

It was taken up for debate yesterday (18), and would be debated during today’s (19), Sittings as well.

The motion was presented by JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa and seconded by JVP MP Vjitha Herath.

Participating in the debate, UNP MP Malik Samarawickrama said that abolishing the Executive Presidency was a key promise of the good governance Government guided by the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Thera and now it is time to re-commit to achieve that goal.

“It is safe to say it has never been clearer as to why we need to abolish this post. In the last 51 days, everyone saw what kinds of disasters happen when the power is centred in one office. We should act now, having seen that we cannot turn a blind eye anymore. Our country will only be strong if we meaningfully distribute power between the Presidency, the Parliament and the Judiciary. It is about making clear that one person does not wield all the authority, like what happened during the past 51 days.

The Executive Presidency must go. For the last 51 days, what kept the State stable were the strong Legislature, the Speaker and the independent Judiciary, not the Presidency. The President’s acts actually weaken the State,” he noted.

Samarawickrama also noted that there are myths about the post and they should be busted.

“The Executive Presidency does not lead us to a strong State. It does not strengthen the Unitary State of our country and lead to a more stable Government. We must bring the primacy to this Parliament. Therefore, everyone in the House should commit to abolish the Executive Presidency and now it is the time to complete the job,” he said and added, “I call all the Members of this House to vote in favour of this motion and to campaign in the country on behalf of this.”

Dr. Jayatissa presenting the motion noted that majority of the citizenry wants to see the Executive Presidency abolished and that the people should be allowed to make a decision on the Executive Presidency via a referendum.

“People have now understood the damages this position can do to the country thanks to the last 50 days. Therefore, we should not miss that golden opportunity to abolish the Executive Presidency for everyone’s good. It took us 40 years to fully understand what politician Dr. N.M. Perera said when the Executive Presidency was introduced. He questioned as to what would happen if this Executive Presidency post falls into the hands of a madman, and now after 40 years we understand what he said,” he added.

Seconding the motion Herath also said that this is the best time to abolish the Executive Presidency.

“There are two myths entertained by the citizens of the country with regard to the Executive Presidency. One of that is the assumption that the Executive Presidency defends the minority of the country. The second is the belief that the Executive Presidency stops the country from being divided. Let me ask you this. Has the Executive Presidency protected Tamils, Muslims and other minorities? It miserably failed to do that.

Which post destabilized the country in the last 50 days? It was the Executive Presidency. Some opportunistic politicians have misled our monks about the Executive Presidency as well. We kindly urge our monks not to be misled by such opportunists. The JVP will never do anything to divide this country. It was us who went to the Court against the Northern and Eastern Provinces being engrafted and 60,000 Members of the JVP sacrificed their lives for this country.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution we presented has never touched the President’s powers on the Provincial Councils. If any Council declared itself as a separate country, the President can immediately dissolve it. We have never touched these powers. Therefore, the 20th Amendment would not divide the country,” Herath elaborated.