UNP MP and Investment Promotions and Highways Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said yesterday that factions of the UPFA went against the wishes of the people by diluting one of the most important features that would have made the 19th amendment more meaningful for the people. He said the UNP and Maithripala Sirisena campaigned to abolish the Executive Presidency and build an independent, depoliticised public sector.

Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994 and 2000 and Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 and 2010 and in 2015 campaigned to abolish the Executive Presidency. President Maithripala Sirisena in his speech in support of the 19th Amendment stated that both Mahinda Rajapaksa and he had obtained 5.7 million and 6.2 million votes on the premise that they would abolish the Executive Presidency. The Supreme Court had also struck down many clauses that delegated executive powers to the Prime Minister, which requires a referendum. “Factions of the UPFA diluted the Constitutional Council to include a majority of MPs on the Council, completely nullifying the intention of setting up an independent Constitutional Council in the first place. This is the same party that proposed the 17th Amendment with a Constitutional Council comprising a majority of non-members of Parliament,” Wickramaratne said. “Restoring the two term limit, restricting the President’s discretion to dissolve Parliament from one year after election to 4.5 years and limiting the cabinet to 30, are few of the freedoms gained by the people today,” he said. “If this Parliament reflected the mandate of the people given on 8 January, the outcome would have been different,” pointed out Wickramaratne. He said this Parliament has no legitimacy. It reflects the status of the electorate in 2010. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his wisdom knew the changing wishes of the people and decided to test it at an election. The people gave the decision on 8 January. “This Parliament has outlived its mandate by disrupting the President’s program which was recently endorsed by the people. Parliament must be dissolved immediately. The political, social and economic consequences of a Parliament that has outlived its mandate are grave,” he said. “The political uncertainly will have dire economic consequences. The only way out is for the people to be given the chance to decide on the alternative proposals put forward by the political parties and on suitable candidates to carry out that program. There is now a necessity for an immediate dissolution of Parliament,” Wickramaratne added. – See more at: http://www.ft.lk/2015/04/30/upfa-factions-dilute-19a-going-against-wishes-of-the-people-eran/#sthash.1nAad44G.dpuf

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