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50 days Political upheaval in Sri Lanka

The Removal of the Prime Minister and the Dissolution of Parliament: A Legal Opinion

Image: From Vikalpa.

This legal opinion was prepared by Gehan Gunatilleke, Dinesha Samararatne, Kalana Senaratne and Asanga Welikala in response to a request made by Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne, P.C, Member of Parliament.

Since 26th October 2018, Sri Lanka has been in an unprecedented political, economic, and constitutional crisis. The crisis was triggered by a series of decisions taken by President Maithripala Sirisena, each of which, in our view, is in violation of the Sri Lankan Constitution. This opinion aims to offer responses to several constitutional questions that have arisen with regard to the developments since 26th October. These questions relate to the consequences of a party withdrawing from a National Government, the appointment and removal of a Prime Minister, discrepancies between the Sinhala and English versions of the Constitution, and the dissolution of Parliament.

1. Did the withdrawal of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) from the National Government result in the vacation of the post of Prime Minister?

There is no constitutional provision that stipulates that the withdrawal of one party in a coalition forming a National Government has the effect of dissolving the Government or the Cabinet of Ministers, or the office of Prime Minister becoming vacant. Article 46 (4) and (5) of the Constitution, which deals with a National Government, makes no reference whatsoever to such consequences.

The only legal consequence of the formation of a National Government is that the ordinary cap on the number of Cabinet Ministers at 30 and non-Cabinet Ministers at 40 is suspended, with Parliament determining the number of Ministers, which may be higher than the ordinary limit. Conversely, if a National Government ceases to exist, then the only legal consequence is that the number of Cabinet Ministers must be reduced to 30 and the number of non-Cabinet Ministers to 40. The President can do this only on the advice of the Prime Minister, as all ministerial appointments and dismissals legally require the President to act on the advice of the Prime Minister (see articles 45(1) and 46 (3)).

2. Is the President empowered by the Constitution to appoint any Member of Parliament as Prime Minister, who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament?

The Constitution does not authorise the President to unilaterally dismiss the Prime Minister, based on a subjective opinion of the President, as to which Member of Parliament commands the confidence of Parliament. Other than for death, resignation, or on ceasing to be a Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister vacates office only when Parliament has signified its loss of confidence in the Government as a whole, according to the circumstances and procedures specifically established by the Constitution.

Article 42(4) provides that the President shall appoint the person ‘who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament’. The literal meaning of this text has to be given meaning in light of the purpose for which this power has been vested in the President. The power of the President of the Republic is a constitutional power to be exercised in the public interest and in light of relevant facts. It is not something that is personal to him that can be used in any way that he pleases.

The first task of interpreting a democratic constitution is to promote the values of democracy, constitutionalism, good governance, and the public interest. It is not to facilitate executive convenience and unilateralism, or to enable secret plots to subvert the Constitution and change governments precipitately to serve partisan political interests. Consequently, the reference in article 42(4) to the opinion of the President is not a reference to a private and subjective opinion, but an opinion that can be formed only by reference to the will of Parliament.

Moreover, article 42(4) deals with the appointment of a Prime Minister only where the office of Prime Minister is vacant. But the situation that arose on 26th October 2018 was totally different, as there was a Prime Minister in office enjoying the confidence of Parliament. The Constitution does not contain any explicit provisions that empower the President to dismiss the Prime Minister.

After the Nineteenth Amendment was enacted in 2015, the Prime Minister can only cease to hold office by death, resignation, by ceasing to be a Member of Parliament, or if the Government as a whole has lost the confidence of Parliament by a defeat on the Statement of Government Policy, the Appropriations Bill, or a vote of no-confidence (see articles 46(2) and 48). Since the Constitution specifies these ways in which the Prime Minister ceases to hold office, and has removed the previous power of the President to remove the Prime Minister at will, it follows that there are no other ways through which the office of Prime Minister can become vacant. In particular, the President can only appoint another Prime Minister where the serving Prime Minister has lost office in any one of these ways.

It should be added that as a consequence of the presidential two-term limit being reintroduced by the Nineteenth Amendment, the President should not appoint a Member of Parliament to the post of Prime Minister who is constitutionally disqualified from assuming the presidency in a situation where that office becomes vacant before the expiry of the incumbent’s term of office.

One of the critical – but much ignored – aspects of the purported appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa MP as the Prime Minister is the fact that he is disqualified from holding the office of President, since no person who has been elected twice to the office of President is qualified to be elected to such office (see article 31(2) and article 92(c)). Where the office of President becomes vacant, Parliament elects as President one of its Members who is qualified to be elected to the office of President for the unexpired period of the term (article 40(1)(a)). This clearly disqualifies any person who has been twice elected from assuming the office of President in this particular situation.

We highlight this issue, simply to make it clear that the decision to appoint a new Prime Minister on the 26th of October failed to consider the broader legal and political factors that deserved the serious attention of the President.

3. Does the discrepancy between the English and Sinhala text of the Constitution, mean that the Sinhala version grants the President the power to remove a sitting Prime Minister and reappoint another unilaterally?

It is true that there is a discrepancy between the Sinhala and English versions of article 48(1). The relevant portions of article 48(1) in English states: ‘On the Prime Minister ceasing to hold office by death, resignation or otherwise…the Cabinet of Ministers shall…stand dissolved and the President shall appoint a Prime Minister…’ (italics added). The ‘or otherwise’ here is a clear reference to what follows in article 48(2), which sets out the ways in which the Cabinet stands dissolved – and the Prime Minister ceases to function in office – by the loss of confidence of Parliament.

The import of the Sinhala version is the same, except that instead of saying ‘by death, resignation or otherwise’ it states ‘by the removal from office or resignation or otherwise’ (dhoorayen ivath karanu labeemen ho illaa as veemen ho anyaakaarayakin). But the defenders of President Sirisena’s actions claim that the words ‘by the removal from office’ in the Sinhala text conclusively prove that the President continues to hold the power to dismiss the Prime Minister even after the Nineteenth Amendment.

This discrepancy is regrettable, and is evidently the result of an oversight during the legislative process by which the Nineteenth Amendment was enacted in April 2015. However, this discrepancy makes no material difference to the process through which a Prime Minister may be removed from office. Neither the Sinhala nor English versions of article 48(1) refer to the President’s power to remove a Prime Minister. Thus, treating this apparent discrepancy as a reference to such a power of removal is incongruent in terms of the Constitution read as a whole.

Nowhere else in the Sinhala text is it contemplated that a presidential power of dismissal has been retained in the Constitution after the Nineteenth Amendment; everywhere else, and especially in article 46, which is the most relevant provision to this question, the text in both Sinhala and English is entirely consistent to the effect that this power has been removed from the President and conferred solely on Parliament. In any case, it is not only possible but also the more reasonable, logical, and harmonious approach to interpret ‘removal from office’ in the Sinhala text as referring to removal from office as set down in article 48(2), rather than the incongruous and implausible argument that its effect is to retain a presidential power that Parliament clearly intended to abolish when it enacted the Nineteenth Amendment.

Any fair-minded and informed observer would more readily accept the explanation that the discrepancy was the result of an oversight, which, while regrettable, is not fatal to the integrity of the Nineteenth Amendment framework.

4. Did the President have the power to dissolve Parliament?

The President has no power to dissolve Parliament in the first four and a half years of its five-year term. Article 70(1) clearly provides that the President’s power to dissolve Parliament does not come alive ‘until the expiration of a period of not less than four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting’, except if Parliament requests the President to dissolve Parliament by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of its Members, including those not present. It has been argued that article 70(1) has to be read subject to the general and empowering clause found in article 33(2)(c). Article 33 describes several powers that are vested with the President including the power to ‘summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament.’ However, this general power has to be reconciled with article 70(1), which restricts the power of the President to dissolve Parliament. Any other interpretation would subvert the meaning and purpose of article 70(1), which is clear.

The Parliament that was elected in August 2015 had its first sitting on the 1st of September 2015. Accordingly, the President’s power to dissolve Parliament will come alive only in March 2020.

5. Did the Supreme Court have the authority to stay the operation of the Gazette Extraordinary (No 2096/70) of 9th November 2018 that purported to dissolve Parliament?

The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to determine the legality and the procedural propriety of the exercise of the President’s power to dissolve Parliament according to the Constitution. Prior to the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment, the President enjoyed immunity from any kind of legal proceedings before a Court of Law. Article 35(1) of the Constitution, as amended by the Nineteenth Amendment, permits ‘any person’ to file a petition under article 126 against the Attorney-General ‘in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by the President, in his official capacity.’ Article 126 provides that a petition alleging the violation or imminent violation of a fundamental right can be filed before the Supreme Court within one month. If the Court grants leave to proceed, it will make a determination on the petition. In doing so the Court has the power to grant ‘relief’ or ‘make such directions’ that it would consider to be ‘just and equitable’.

In current proceedings, several petitioners have alleged that their right to equality, recognised by article 12(1), was violated by the President when he issued a Gazette notification purporting to dissolve Parliament. The Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the right to equality to include the right to be free from the arbitrary use of executive or administrative power. The petitioners requested the Court to grant interim relief in the form of suspending the Gazette notification until the conclusion of the case. Having heard all parties, the Court decided on the 13th of November to grant interim relief, and suspended the operation of the Gazette purporting to dissolve Parliament.

-Groundviews

50 days Political upheaval in Sri Lanka

50 Days Of Madness By The Executive & MR, Courage Of Speaker & Supreme Court & Calmness By The People: A Tribute To A Stoic Nation

It was indeed a fascinating period of time. The Executive branch of our government ran amok; it did not understand the fundamentals of democracy, leave alone its nuanced constitutional interpretations. He did not bend the rules; he broke them. On whose legal and constitutional instructions and guidance, one may never know. Yet he did it, almost at the cost of the country’s precious democracy. For fifty long days, before the country’s populace on whose tired and weary shoulders he ascended to power and before the world whose sympathy he needed most at this hour of crisis, he chose to play a very partisan game. Apparently, the survival of his beloved political party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), was uppermost in his limited scope of governance. Political priorities overshadowed the grim realities of the moment.

The Executive

When the Executive was expected to exercise his stupendous judgment on matters of governance-affairs, that judgment not only came into question, it was proven to be unequivocally deficient. Irrational conduct of the Executive took the country by surprise; all the respect and honor one would bestow upon the office of Presidency was not to be; its glamour and luster gone, the holder of office became a laughing stock, not only in the social media, but it was even more evident among his own close supporters. The social media went to town on him. The ‘Smart Phone’ fraternity was busy, sending either on Whatsapp or Viber many a creative cartoon or musical clip that made the highest officeholder in the country a minion subjected to disparage and mockery. A deplorable behavior on the part of the Executive did not do justice to either the Legislature or the Judiciary, the other two pillars of our government structure. But for 50 days the people had to suffer this pitiful melodrama of willful violation of our Constitution. 

No one enjoys eating humble pie. Yet the Executive was forced to eat it, not at the behest of his conscience; he was compelled to do the right thing by the country’s Judiciary and the Speaker of the Legislature. All in all, the Executive’s dissemination and his crazy conduct, specifically in relation to the unconstitutional dissolution of Parliament of our Constitution without any due regards for due diligence for wise governance speaks volumes for the lack of understanding of the nuanced aspects of constitutional matters and challenges to democratic wellbeing of the country. Wisdom is not a talent one is born with; nor is it a product of association with those who are below one’s grade in life and education. Wisdom is a human quality that is, as George Bernard Shaw remarked: ‘We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future’. The Executive seems to be bogged down in the past. His unwinnable battle to save the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) from extinction has taken priority surpassing the winnable wars against rampant corruption, nepotism and erratic exercise of powers to suppress and overturn the rightful dues form the ordinary men and women in the country. Wisdom has not dawned on the Executive and one cannot expect for such a miracle in the context of what occurred in the last fifty (50) days.

The Speaker and the Legislature

One conspicuous and hopeful side of the confusing drama that was played before our eyes during the last 50 days is the courageous and spirited part played by Karu Jayasuriya, the Speaker of the House of Parliament. He, in arguably the darkest days of our Parliamentary history, stood his ground and showed the entire world that the spirit of our constitution was indeed alive and pulsating without any breakage. Such courage is indeed rare and calls for praise and applause. The unruly bands of parliamentarians who claim to be loyal cohorts of the shameless Mahinda Rajapaksa went berserk; they resorted to the lowest of human behavior and were successful in making Madávi Some and Choppe of a bygone era look like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Armed with chili powder and water, they soiled and desecrated the floor of the House of the People, Parliament; knowing very well that they did not have the numbers to defeat the resolution which was before the Members, an utterly uncouth and despicable conduct as was displayed by petty thugs who were elected to Parliament, managed only to reaffirm the general opinion of the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists as puny representatives of a culture that was nurtured and nursed by the Rajapaksa family and their immediate bedfellows.

It was against such anarchical and pagan behavior of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-supporters that Karu Jayasuriya made a gallant effort to uphold the fundamental values and ethos of a human fraternity which we call Parliament of Sri Lanka. However, he was not alone in his fight. The members of the United National Party (SLFP) backed by the other members of the Opposition too exhibited some guts and poise in the face of these marauding armies of parliamentary hooligans unleashed by the Rajapaksa clan. Parliament used to be an educative institute which had within its hallowed walls some giants and luminaries who were role models for the younger generation of that era. We have bidden adieu to that domain some time ago. A new culture has replaced that particular powerful force of our society. Holding one’s own stead, keeping calm at all times and delivering legal and constitutional deathblows to the opposition is indeed a very daring and fearless act. Karu Jayasuriya did just that.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the country is the last refuge for those who seek justice and the rule of law. It is the sacred institution in which many a gallant and heroic argument is made for and against one’s position on any given supposition. During the years of the Rajapaksas, this institution came under severe criticism and disparage. Many a member of this ultimate arbiter of the law of the land is usually held in highest of esteem and honor. Considered to be in the elite of the country’s social pyramid, members of this small group of professional men of law, in the past have written and interpreted some complicated legal issues and passed judgments on them without any prejudice to the men and women whose arguments for and against a distinguished attorney would argue.

The infamous 50 days witnessed the splendor of our Supreme Court; its conduct and delivery of orders in each of the cases put before them represented a microcosm of an independent court of justice. They justified their very presence in the Court with honor and admiration. Some wonder whether the Supreme Court during Rajapaksas would have been so impartial and just. But to pass judgment on the Supreme Court for a mundane writer would amount to questioning their intent more than the very substance of the issues involved. I would leave that to legal luminaries of a future time. Yet one cannot disregard one reality: What was placed before the Supreme Court in the last few days of November, 2018 was of great value in the legacy that each of the decisions would have left behind. Each and every member of that court would be remembered for the decision they made. 

‘Legacy’ value of that decision would certainly have played an unambiguous part in their decisions. They certainly left a grand legacy of right against wrong; legal against illegal and constitutional against unconstitutional. As  a matter of fact the Supreme Court saved the day for democracy and its continued sustenance in Sri Lanka.

The People

One cannot forget the role played by the people in Sri Lanka during these 50 days. Each party to the arguments for and against the Ranil Wickremesinghe-led government has its fringe elements. However wrong their party’s stand, these fringe groups would not desert their political allegiances. But a great part of the electorate does not belong to these fringes. They inhabit in the middle; their allegiance is basically to the more sensible and conventional principles of democracy and fair-play. Those people still chose to trek in the middle without reaching the threshold of the fringes. They were patient and thoroughly poised; their demeanor did not change and they lent their ears to everyone but made no comment or pass judgment. That is a mark of a mature nature of character.

That character stood tall. That is the most remarkable feature in the midst of broken down Executive and the Rajapaksa-legacy. That character of our people deserves undiminished admiration and applause. 

The write can be contacted at [email protected]

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50 days Political upheaval in Sri Lanka

US urges responsible and quick end to Sri Lanka crisis

Image: US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz .

New Ambassador says global trust, confidence and reputation of SL at stake with political impasse causing serious socio-economic consequences.
Points to bigger challenge of how to deal with the aftermath of this crisis.
Admits crisis has impacted bilateral opportunities; finalising Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $ 500 m grant support “paused” .
Expresses hope for a legitimate Government via transparent and democratic process.
Clarifies that US is being transparent about its hopes for SL as partner and friend; is not interfering in internal affairs.
Assures of not preventing polls, will respect if crisis is ultimately resolved through elections.
Commends civil society and private sector for speaking out against crisis.

By Nisthar Cassim.

Stressing that it has no favourites in the contest, the United States this week urged Sri Lankan leaders to resolve the political crisis responsibly and promptly, as it has far reaching socio-economic consequences, apart from damaging global confidence and trust.

“As a friend and partner, we have urged Sri Lanka and its leaders to move promptly to resolve the political crisis in a transparent and democratic way,” newly-appointed US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz told the Daily FT, in her first interview with the media.

“We have no dog in this fight. We do not have favourites in this political contest. We are looking at an outcome that respects constitutional processes and transparency and produce a legitimate government,” added Teplitz.

Teplitz took office less than a week after President Maithripala Sirisena appointed MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, removing then-sitting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and thereby igniting an unprecedented political crisis.

After presenting her credentials to President Sirisena, in recent weeks, Teplitz has met with representatives of all political parties, though not yet formally with either Wickremesinghe or Rajapaksa. She said that during the meetings, she shared frank and candid views and also listened to the concerns of political parties figuring in the crisis.

“We have urged that the people’s elected representatives be allowed to resolve this within the framework of the Constitution. We have called on the political leadership and President Sirisena to responsibly resolve this crisis, so that it is clear there is a legitimate, constitutionally mandated Government running the country, and democratic institutions are fully respected,” emphasised Ambassador Teplitz during the interview.

“Sri Lanka must, and has the opportunity to, restore the political reputation of the nation, which is very important going forward. Challenging politics can diminish that reputation,” she pointed out.

“There are some damaging economic consequences from this crisis.I think there is some damage caused to Sri Lanka’s political and democratic institutions.

We do not have favourites in this political contest. We are looking at an outcome that respects constitutional processes and transparency and produces a legitimate Government

These are things we are concerned about as a partner and friend of Sri Lanka,” she added, noting that the full dimension of the crisis wasn’t clear initially, but of late the country has seen credit ratings downgraded, increased pressure on the currency and Bond rates, and private sector concerns of the fiscal situation have become apparent as well.

Teplitz, who is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counsellor, and previously served as the US Ambassador to Nepal, pointed out that the political instability sends a risk message to investors, and hence restoring political stability was crucial.

“What is more challenging is, how do you deal with the aftermath of this crisis.It is important to remember that even if it is resolved, there is going to be a period required to restore confidence and trust among Sri Lanka’sdevelopment partners, existing and potential investors,” Ambassador Teplitz emphasised.

Given the serious socio-economic consequences, Teplitz welcomed the growing concerns expressed by civil society and private sector. “I have seen that a number of industry groups including Chambers of Commerce and Industry had come out and said ‘please resolve the political crisis’ as it is harming the business and economy and future opportunities. Political leaders should take the concerns of civil society and businesses onboard and understand that the crisis has impacted well beyond the political realm,” she pointed out.

As the Sri Lankan political crisis is of serious concern, the US has “paused” finalising the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative with Sri Lanka, thereby putting $ 500 million of grant assistance at stake.

“We have paused it as MCC is based on the foundation of respect for the rule of law and good governance. We are waiting to see how the crisis is resolved before we could resume our negotiations and go forward. So there is definitely an impact from the crisis on some of our bilateral opportunities,” Ambassador Teplitz admitted.

However she remained optimistic and hopeful of resolution of the current political impasse. “We are hoping that this crisis is short-lived and something that we can turnaround quickly. We have to do our due diligence to ensure that we make these agreements under the right conditions and expectations, and that we’ve got full faith in one another as partners,” Teplitz added.

Whilst acknowledging that President Sirisena’s dissolution move is being contested in Court, Ambassador Teplitz said the US does not prejudge the outcome but noted: “We are prepared to work with any Government that emerges from this legitimate, transparent and democratic process. Our concern is our friendship with the legitimate Government, broadly speaking,but also with the people, and we are able to move ahead in areas of concern, which includes strengthening the democratic institutions,” she added.

The Ambassador also responded to post-crisis criticism that the US is meddling with internal affairs and also preventing the holding of an election.

“I don’t believe that being transparent about our hopes and aspirations for our partner and friend Sri Lana is interference. Certainly Sri Lanka’s leaders can take our leaf, take our opinions and hopes on board due to our longstanding relationship and many mutual interests.So that is hardly interfering in the sovereign activities of Sri Lanka as a country,” she explained.

“We are also not preventing anybody from having elections. If an election is how this crisis would be ultimately resolved, we support the democratic process being observed and respect it,” Ambassador Teplitz added.
FT

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50 days Political upheaval in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: President should beg pardon from country for political crime he committed. – Anura Kumara

At the very moment the political conspiracy was committed with the mediation of President Maithripala Sirisena, the JVP resolved that the political conspiracy would be defeated and all moves that would be taken to consolidate democracy in the country.

When Parliament met on 14th November the JVP presented a no-confidence motion against the illegal, unconstitutional government that was set up. Rajapaksa faction obstructed debating the NCM. Amidst the obstructions, the NCM was passed. A document with signatures of 122 MPs was handed over to the President. Accordingly, the Speaker announced on the 15th that there was no longer a prime minister or a government. As the President was not prepared to accept this another NCM was presented to parliament on the 16th. On this day too Rajapaksa clique did not allow a debate to be held. They attacked with chili powder, broke equipment in parliament, toppled the Speaker’s chair and the table where the maze is placed and behaved like idiots. However, despite the obstructions, the Speaker entered the chamber and formerly got the NCM passed in Parliament.
In a situation where the President doesn’t act according to the Constitution the only action, we had was to seek redress from the Court of Appeal. With the mediation of 122 MPs, we stated that the NCM presented in Parliament had been passed and requested the Court of Appeal to declare that Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa has no power to act as the Prime Minister and his cabinet cannot act as ministers.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeal has given a very important decision. The setup government has been barred from functioning until the hearing is concluded. Functioning according to arbitrary, distorted thoughts of President Maithripala Sirisena has been halted. Despite a NCM had been passed in Parliament and the Speaker had announced that there was no prime minister or a cabinet, the President convened the cabinet. Various decisions were taken. The ‘token’ ministers commenced giving employment so that they would have cadres for their future political projects. Do people have to accept the administration of such a ‘token’ cabinet? Do we, as citizens of this country, have to accept an illegal, unconstitutional clique that doesn’t have a majority in Parliament administer our country? Can the President rule the country with whichever group he fancies?

The NCM passed on the 14th and the Speakers’ special announcement on the 15th have been corroborated by the Court of Appeal. We would like to tell Maithripala Sirisena that his decisions have been proved wrong many a time. The gazette dissolving Parliament, the gazette appointing the prime minister, the gazette appointing ministers have been stayed by the Judiciary. This is the worst that could happen to decisions by a President. Hence, we ask the President to withdraw those gazette notifications. His moves have been defeated in Parliament and in Courts twice. The President should not come out of his distorted thoughts. The majority group should be allowed to govern.
What has taken place is a treasonable conspiracy. It is a political conspiracy by Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa to grab power. This treasonable conspiracy should not be taken lightly. We would not allow the issue to be closed even if Ranil and Mahinda become pals and have their hands on each other’s shoulders. These treasonable conspiracies should be countered. As such, we emphasize that the Parliament should pass a bill to appoint a commission to punish all those who were involved in the political conspiracy. The commission should also investigate the moves of the media institutions that functioned supporting the conspirators. The media has a massive task of making the people aware when such political conspiracies are being hatched. However, most of the media institutions in our country stood on the side of the conspirators.

Also, the importance of the proposal to abolish executive presidency is further established with what is happening in the country now. We, of the JVP, have presented in Parliament the proposal to abolish the executive presidency. We would like to emphasize now that this amendment should be soon debated and passed in parliament. We propose that subsequently the Parliament should be dissolved and a new Parliament should be elected according to the wishes of the people. This Parliament is not suitable to carry out any other programmes. Hereafter, no government, whoever makes it and if it is made with perks, privileges and bribes, it should not be allowed to carry on for a long time. We again emphasize that the political conspiracy should be totally defeated, a commission should be appointed to punish the conspirators and then the bill to abolish executive presidency should be passed before this Parliament is dissolved.

It was the President who made this country a ludicrous, clownish anarchic state. It was the President who broke down the economy, destroyed democracy and belittled our country before the world. As such, if he has a conscience he should beg pardon from the whole Nation regarding the political conspiracy he committed. We demand that the President, without continuing with his political conspiracy, should carry out his functions honouring the Constitution. We would like to emphasize that there would be inconceivable uprisings if he continues to carry out his arbitrary moves. In such a situation the President would have to confront a political fate that he would never imagine. We also would like to emphasize that the President has no right to instruct the people to act lawfully if he doesn’t act according to the constitution and the law of the country.

( Taken from the Leader of the JVP, Anura Dissanayaka’s speech at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta to express the view of the JVP regarding the interim injunction order given by the Court of Appeal restraining Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning until the hearing is concluded. Courtesy of the Lanka Truth)

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