20th Amendment impinges on sovereignty and franchise – Mahinda

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution impinged upon the people’s sovereignty and franchise.

He issued a media release today (09) expressing his views on the 20th Amendment which has reportedly been gazette by the Government “with a view of postponing elections to the provincial councils”.

Accordingly, he stated that the Amendment would require a referendum, and added that a petition would also be submitted to the Supreme Court in this regard.

In his media release, the former President explained if the 20th Amendment was passed into law, not only would it allow the postponement of all PC elections, but that it would also allow the extension of the terms of all existing PCs up to September 2019, “in a direct violation of the franchise and the sovereignty of the people.”

He pointed out that the local government elections which were due to be conducted back in March 2015 had also been indefinitely postponed.

Accordingly, Rajapaksa stated that the gazetting of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was the latest in a long list of outrages against democracy perpetrated by the current government.

Speaking on the current government, Mahinda Rajapaksa then proceeded to issue a reminder that they came into power through a conspiracy aided by interested foreign parties. He also pointed out that although the 2015 presidential election was fought on the platform of abolishing the executive presidency, it still remained as it used to be.

He then stated that the independent commissions and important offices of the state were now filled with “yamapalana sympathizers”, and added that there had never been “such a perversion of democracy in this country” under any government until the present regime’s rise to power.

“Even though the yamapalana government won only 106 seats at the 2015 parliamentary election, this has increased to a two thirds majority due to UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) parliamentarians accepting ministerial portfolios”, the former President said in his media release.

Furthermore, he stated that the executive power was being misused by the Government not just to hold on to power, but to also sell strategic national assets to foreigners without consulting the people or even the Parliament.

“When two bids are received, the unfavourable bid is selected in a manner that makes it only too plain that vast kickbacks are involved,” he said.

Reaching the conclusion of his release, Rajapaksa urged each and every member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the UPFA in Parliament to oppose the proposed 20th Amendment, as well as the Amendment to the provincial council elections law “brought with a view to postponing the forthcoming provincial council elections and to extend the terms of the existing provincial councils without an election.”

“The SLFP/UPFA group in parliament can deprive the government of the two thirds majority needed to pass this Amendment,” he reminded, emphasizing that the SLFP/UPFA parliamentarians could together block this in the legislature.

“If the need is to hold all the PC elections on the same day, the government can bring forward the elections to all Provincial Councils to 2017, instead of postponing the elections till 2019,” former President Mahinda Rajapaksa pointed out lastly, drawing his release to a close.

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