ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a draft 22nd amendment to the constitution, cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said.
The amendment, which has been referred to as the 21st amendment so far, will in fact be the 22nd, as another draft 21st amendment has already been gazetted.
There have been widespread calls for a restoration of the better provisions of the 19th amendment and there has been a lot of debate on the powers conferred on the office of the president by the 20th amendment, Gunawardena told reporters at the weekly cabinet press briefing on Tuesday June 21.
“Those who made it seem that this amendment would never materialise have been proven wrong. The amendment, proposed by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, has received cabinet approval,” said Gunawardena.
The draft will be forwarded to the legal draftsman and the Attorney General’s department, he said, after which “there will be much debate about it in the country.”
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera say any amendments by the Attorney General’s department will again be taken up by cabinet for approval, after which it will be tabled in parliament.
The 22nd amendment will likely see the president’s executive powers pruned if passed by parliament.
supposed to be taken up in cabinet on June 06 but was delayed as, according to media reports, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had asked the minister of justice not to take it up at that week’s meeting.
The final draft of the amendment has yet to be publicised.
Several parties have proposed different versions of a 21st amendment, with at least one of them containing provisions to abolish the executive presidency in its entirety.
Presented as a private member’s bill by MP Rajapakshe prior to his being sworn in as Justice Minister, the original version of this draft amendment proposes, among other things, a constitutional council chaired by the speaker of parliament and comprising the prime minister, the leader of the opposition and others.
Sri Lanka independent MPs propose 21st amendment; constitutional council proposed