The executive presidency, 13A, provincial councils and the presidential campaign.
Posted on December 12th, 2014

By Chandre Dharmawardana, Ottawa, Canada.

Although the executive powers of the President have become pivotal to the agenda of the common candidate” of the opposition, the even more emotional question of the 13th amendment has been kept out of the limelight. While the incumbent can claim the status quo as his working model, the supporters of the common candidate” do not seem to have any common ground to stand on.

In 1987 Rajeev Gandhi was reeling from exposures in the Indian press regarding kick-backs from arms purchases. Twenty million from Sweden, fifteen million from a German submarine deal, and other allegations of high corruption were coming to light. Meanwhile, military operations in Sri Lanka against the LTTE, a group that the Indians had nurtured as their jagular -hold on Jayawardena, were going against the LTTE. Standing firm against Sri Lanka and tightening the jagular would turn the limelight away from Gandhi’s domestic scandals.

To make matters easy for Gandhi, the army and air-force operations, guided by American and Israeli advisers, followed the inhuman tactics perfected in the Gaza. Athulathmudali’s operation liberation” ignored the fate of the civilians in the North, already caught in the cross-fire among the rival LTTE, PLOTE, EPRLF, TELO and other groups.

When the Indians air-dropped supplies” on 4th of June 1987, the Sri Lankan army offensive to capture Prabhakaran had to be called off. India claimed that the SL government had carpet bombed Vadamarachchi, with over 2000 dead, repeating the gross claims of the LTTE to justify India’s intervention. Calling in foreign journalists to Vadamrachchi to discredit some of these claims did not help, as India was simply looking for an excuse. Meanwhile the LTTE offensive changed character to include the Black Tigers. The first suicide attack (by Miller) of the war came on July 5th, targeting the Nelliyadda camp, with the LTTE claiming to kill a 100 soldiers. This was followed by indiscriminate army reprisals killing innocent civilians. The Indo-Lanka accord was signed on the 5th of July. J. R. Jayawardena (JRJ) used the powers of his executive presidency and acceded to the Indian plan. He had no option to disagree. Today this would be called creating a “Ukraine potentiality” for Indian hegemony over a part of Sri Lanka.

It led to the 13th amendment to the constitution, creating provincial councils with wide devolved powers, merging the North and the East into one province, as well as a right-to-protect (R2P) type intervention that allowed the Indian Peace Keeping force (IPKF). Although Prabhakaran appeared to agree to it under duress, he took the first opportunity to reject it and fought the IPKF. He rejected the Indian Model” and insisted on achieving Eelam at any human cost.

JRJ could sign the Indo-Lanka accord using the special powers vested in the executive presidency. Its legitimacy itself may be debated. Its present-day effect is to create a triple force against the stability of Sri Lanka. (i) A Ukraine-potentiality inherent in the 13th amendment, (ii) A Northern Provincial administration where the leaders rush to India for consultation on almost every matter, and Although the TNA has stated its support for a united” Sri Lanka, there is no trust between the leaders of the North and the South. Some of Mr. Sampanthan’s saying have been interpreted by editorial writers of the Hindu, and the Sunday Times (www.sundaytimes.lk/120603/Editorial.html), as secessionist”. (iii) A tense Tamil Nadu tantalized by the Tiger vision.

Not surprisingly, the TNA has demanded wide powers going beyond the 13A including the right to self-determination”. The Southern nationalists have demanded the abrogation of the 13th amendment. The TNA claims that the North and the East are exclusive Tamil homelands whose demographic character should not be modified by non-Tamil residents. The LTTE had in fact ethnically cleansed” the North of its Muslims and Sinhalese.

After nearly three decades of ‘provincial councils’ in most parts of the country, we now have an extreme redundancy in government, with unclear jurisdictions and superfluous expenditure in maintaining multiple tiers of politicians. The local, provincial and national level politicians depend on one another for favours, racketeering and electioneering. Thus today no major party in the South will agree to its dismantlement, while freely admitting that it is a cancer in the body politic.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, with his 2/3 majority cannot abolish the 13th as everyone would find reason to lobby against any such moves. However, the small political parties without local and provincial support, but strong in agitation and propaganda, as well as strident nationalist groups can demand the abolition of the 13th, correctly arguing that it is dangerous for national unity, that it totally corrupts the body politic, while tripling the expenditure of governing the country. But their voice has no weight.

Even more interestingly, legal experts have wondered if the abolition of the executive presidency will instantly create the anarchy of nine virtually independent provinces under a powerless parliament.

In our view, both candidates running for the presidency have to speak clearly on what their vision is. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sometimes spoken of a 13A plus, within a home-grown” solution, clearly alluding to the unacceptability of the constitutional distortion imposed by Gandhi. However, he has not defined his position, while no MP wants to jeopardize his own provincial henchmen.

Given the triple threat implicit in the 13A, and its wasteful corrosive effects, the election is an opportunity to define a fresh approach . The provincial councils should be transformed into bodies where administrative power is devolved. Constitutional power is retained at the center. There can be local police forces, and some local land powers etc. Even in Canada or USA, where there are powerful provincial or State governments, the Royal Mounted Police or the FBI has over-arching powers that hold the provincial units subject to national laws. Many matters like environmental issues, public health and infectious diseases, crime, rivers and irrigation, transport, power distribution, forest reserves, federal land-holdings etc., need national scale controls.

The candidates must present realistic plans for these issues, instead of presenting the public with unrealistic promises of abolishing the executive presidency as well as corruption in a mere hundred days”!

21 Responses to “The executive presidency, 13A, provincial councils and the presidential campaign.”

  1. Vijendra Says:

    Chandre

    We all know that we are dealing with a bunch of crooks who are behaving like a flock of vultures fighting for a half-dead animal desperately trying to save itself. Srilankans are the wounded animal desperately struggling to get away from the political vultures.

    Bankrupt, obsolete and discarded politicians like Ranil, CBK and others are using My3 as the cat’s paw to get to power, by hook or by crook. MR is also so power crazy that he wanted to come to power for a third time. Even though he is the only person who has some proven track record of a good nature, he has many weaknesses in behaviour including nepotism and totalitarianism.

    Chandre, as you mentioned, none of these Pres candidates want to talk about the 13A, which is bleeding the economy of SL by tripling the cost of the government and over-politicizing the country. Nor do they have a clear and articulated manifesto and plan to get there; only lot of hot air! We need someone who is honest and disciplined with a clear and explicit philosophy and vision. Unfortunately, there is no one in sight!

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Devolution of power shouldn’t have been considered at all in Sri Lanka with such a small land mass. The extent of land pales into insignificance when compared to the provinces in Canada or India where it would take days to cross from one province to another. In Sri Lanka one could easily commit a crime in one province and run into another with less than an hour. In such a situation devolution of police powers become unthinkable.

    The devolution of land powers is even more so when the Tamil bogus claim for land remains unproven. They had to call it Traditional Homelands because they could not prove the historicity of their claim to the North and East.

    After the coming Presidential Election which I am sure President Rajapakse will win, he should call all the bluffs of the racist Tamils and of the Catholic Church and abrogate the 13th Amendment and along with that the Nine White Elephants called Provincial Councils which are bleeding the motherland white.

  3. Vimutti Says:

    >>>Chandre, as you mentioned, none of these Pres candidates want to talk about the 13A, which is bleeding the economy of SL by tripling the cost of the government and over-politicizing the country. Nor do they have a clear and articulated manifesto and plan to get there; only lot of hot air! We need someone who is honest and disciplined with a clear and explicit philosophy and vision. Unfortunately, there is no one in sight!<<<

    I don’t know about that, Vijendra.

    Google: “What Maithripala is promising is a hodgepodge” and read what G.L. Peiris has to say about the government’s explicit philosophy versus the muddled and contradictory message of Maithripala and his sponsors.

  4. Vimutti Says:

    >>>Devolution of power shouldn’t have been considered at all in Sri Lanka with such a small land mass.<<<

    That is absolutely correct, Ratanapala! And even in India which has a much larger land mass than Sri Lanka, such ethnic and religious divisions based segregation and devolution of power have resulted in DECADES of conflict like you have with Pakistan (which used to be part of India until they devolved power to that region) and Kashmir.

    The PERMANENT solution is MASSIVE (4m persons) integration of the North and East with BUDDHISTS so that the incentive to separate is completely removed. I would start with Trincomalee, which already has a small base of Buddhists, and then add a site in the far North of the Jaffna peninsula between Kankasanturai and Valvedithurai (near beginning of rail line and airport, and another site near Pottuvil (extend rail line from Badulla to Pottuvil). These integration (redevelopment) efforts should be on the scale of Curitiba, Brazil, which has proven a low cost redevelopment model with minimal adverse impact to the environment. Incentives such as below market rate government housing, interest free loans to start Buddhist businesses, new university-prep government schools, new temples, good paying jobs associated with this massive redevelopment effort, and army/navy/police security should be part of the ‘package’ to attract Buddhist residents to these three redevelopment sites.

    The substantial increase in money flowing to the North and East associated with this redevelopment will also enrich the entire region, as even Tamils and Muslims will benefit from more money flowing in these areas.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    MR has not scraped 13 amendment. No hope in hell he will EVER touch the 13 amendment.

  6. Independent Says:

    Oh ! 13 Amendment ! I have forgotten about it.
    It is already implemented as far as the law permits. There is nothing to talk about this.
    The president will change the law and give additional powers soon if he is selected.
    For My3, like me , has completely forgotten it.

  7. Vimutti Says:

    The 13th Amendment becomes irrelevant if the president moves ahead with full integration of the North and East with Buddhists. This shuts up the TNA as they only want devolution if only Tamils are living there. Buddhists should be free to live and work ANYWHERE in Sri Lanka. I think the president agrees with this and will take substantial steps to make this happen after the election.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    NO Devolution of Powers Needed, NO Reconciliation with Terrorists Needed!

    NO DEVOLUTION of Powers NEEDED: Sri Lanka is the only nation in the world where the proxies (TNA) of Murderous Terrorist Separatists, defeated in a war of liberation, are STILL allowed to pursue a Racist Aparthied State of Eelam for Tamils-Only. The Separate State they failed to win by MURDEROUS VIOLENCE they are STILL AGITATING to get through INTERNATIONAL BLACKMAIL!

    To address this issue once and for all, as soon as he is RE-ELECTED, President Mahinda Rajapaksa should REPEAL the 13th Amendment, DISSOLVE the Provincial Council System and Replace it with DISTRICTS, each administered by GOSL APPOINTED, NOT ELECTED, Government Agents. Call them District Governors if needed, but they SHOULD BE APPOINTED by the GOSL.

    The Provinces are TOO LARGE relative to the country as a whole, and are centers around which rebellion and opposition to the central government can germinate in the future. The choice of voting for one’s own candidate to the National Parliament is FRANCHISE ENOUGH for any law-abiding citizen, Provincial elections add no value except increase administrative expenses. Provincial Councils unnecessarily BURDEN the people with MULTIPLE OVERLAPPING BUREAUCRACIES, create BARRIERS to implementation of NATIONAL PROJECTS that cut across provincial boundaries, and can be easily exploited with access to Provincial budgets to fund rebellions against the National government. These are the LESSONS to be derived from the disasters of the last 30 years of armed conflict; let us LEARN from that history.

    NO RECONCILIATION with UNREPENTANT SEPARATIST TRAITORS: Sri Lanka is the only nation being asked to “Reconciliate” with the Nazis of our country, while the Nazis of Germany are PERMANENTLY BANNED and chased from pillar to post. Don’t ask 150,000 VICTIMS of the Eelamists to be FORGIVEN their SINS; instead PUNISH them at eevery turn for they have done, and if released after punishment keep them under CLOSE SCRUTINY. Do not REWARD any separatists. BAN all COMMUNAL PARTIES with Separatist Party Names, Party Constitutions, and Agendas. The TNA should be FORCED to give its Party Platform based on the Vadukkoddai Resolution, and its leaders PROSECUTED and PUNISHED immediately. PROSECUTE every Sri Lankan citizen who commits TREASON against Sri Lanka by PLOTTING against Sri Lanka with ANY Foreign Nation. PROTECT VICTIMS, PUNISH the KILLERS and DEMOLISH their surviving PROXIES!

  9. SA Kumar Says:

    Oh ! 13 Amendment ! I have forgotten about it. For My3, like me , has completely forgotten it.- fact
    We fighted for one TE but We got Two (NP- Saiva TE & EP- -Muslim TE)

    Special thanks to our Thesiya Thalaivar (by deading yourself you achieved our lasting solution- if We knew this we would have killed you longer time ago , not to wased 33 years).

    Anpudan….
    We -Tamils
    Hela Demilaya (Eelath Thamilan)

  10. Vimutti Says:

    Ananda,

    අපි බෞද්ධ ජනතාව සමග උතුරු සහ නැගෙනහිර ඒකාබද්ධ කළ යුතුයි. එසේ නොමැති අප රට බෙදා වෙන් කරන ශ්රී ලංකා අනාගතයකට මුහුන දෙනු ඉදිරියට ද එසේ කරනු ඇත.

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    JVP is doing a great work of rallying people for My3.

    But UNP effort is NOT AT ALL enough.

    UNP has to do more.

    CBK has to do more in GAMPAHA DISTRICT.

  12. SA Kumar Says:

    Independent
    also MR/MY3 & people in sri lanka do not talk about but only LWF ,You & me talk about 13A .

    Lorenzo- why you are supporting MY3 why not MR , Please dump him he(&GR) deserve/need 3rd team to complete Eelam war IV ( or please confirm me final touch is completed).

  13. SA Kumar Says:

    sorry….
    please do not dump him

  14. Vimutti Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Remember the JVP has only FOUR seats in Parliament, and practically no national base of voters, just like the JHU.

    UNP is going mass crossover soon as they are fed up with Chandrika and her bag of tricks. This leaves MS hanging in the wind and preserves the UNP to fight another day.

    I guess MS will probably need Chandrika’s hideout in Chelsea, UK, as he is going to get totally embarrassed on January 9th.

  15. Christie Says:

    India did make the biggest error in backing Mahinda instead of Ranil in 2005 because India thought it will be difficult to negotiate with Ranil. Then India bought Sarath Fonseka and failed. Now it has bought Sirisena and will India succeed the same way it did with SWRD.

  16. Lorenzo Says:

    CBK will go back to Chelsea and the 2 brothers will go back to California!

    JHU and JVP have a vote base of 5% each. They have a national appeal – ESPECIALLY in areas that MR USED to win.

    That is their strength.

  17. Christie Says:

    13A is Indian imperialism. In a recent Indian television talkfest this issue was raised and the former security minister or something of India said the island nation needs !3A as the country has a diverse population even though it is a small island. Unless the Sinhalese understand about the British-Indian empire and now the Indian Empire; they will disappear from the Earth.

  18. Vimutti Says:

    >>>That is their strength.<<<

    They are totally underestimating their strength, this is why BOTH JHU and JVP declined by 300% from 2005 to 2010 in Parliament. They just don't understand voter sentiment and what most voters care about.

  19. Vimutti Says:

    that is..they are OVERestimating their strength….

  20. SA Kumar Says:

    Christie
    13A is Indian imperialism.- Agreed
    island nation needs !3A as the country has a diverse population even though it is a small island. -fact

    Pakistan / Bangladesh /Maldives/ Nepal/ & Mother Lanka all under supervise by Hindustan whether We like it or not.

    Sinhalese will disappear from the Earth- not agreed as We Hela Demilaya with them (last 2,500 years) remember We-Tamils kicked out IPKF even they offered NEP in gold plate.

  21. Ananda-USA Says:

    House of Lords on Thursday discussed plans to encourage more bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, one of UK’s most important bilateral trading partners.

    ……The transformation to a most important trading partner happened in last 5-years of post war development!

    the strong Sri Lankan economy and business base ….citing Sri Lanka’s ease of doing business and infrastructure development among others.

    ……The “infrastructure development” happened in the last 5 years!

    “The future potential for Sri Lanka is huge …

    …..This new view emerged in the last 5-years recognizing Sri Lanka’s own Vision to become the New Wonder of Asia!

    “With a Free Trade Agreement with China to be signed shortly adding to the existing FTAs with Pakistan, India, South Asia and Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka could act as a regional hub to over 3 billion potential customers.”

    ….These trade agreements were established …. in the last 5-years!

    Sri Lanka is actually the highest rated country in South Asia in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index but there are opportunities to improve the position still further.

    …. highest rated country in South Asia for doing business … happened in the last 5-years!

    WHAT have the PREVIOUS governments of Sri Lanka, and two of their leaders CBK and Ranil W now criticizing and undermining the present UPFA government, DONE to grow Sri Lanka’s ECONOMY when THEY HELD POWER?

    NOTHING, DIDDLY SQUAT is the answer! ALL POSTURING and PONTIFICATING, NO ACTION! INCOMPETENT CONNIVERS!

    RE-ELECT President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Executive Presidency so Sri Lanka can CONTINUE its MARCH FORWARD to become the New Wonder of Asia!

    Jayawewa, Sri Lanka! Jayawewa, Mahinda Rajapaksa Mathithumani!

    ………………………………….
    UK parliament discusses enhancing bilateral trade with Sri Lanka

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Dec 12, London: Britain’s upper parliament, House of Lords on Thursday discussed plans to encourage more bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, one of UK’s most important bilateral trading partners.

    Introducing the subject, Lord Mohamed Sheikh said UK is one of the top five investors in Sri Lanka and its number one EU trading partner and noted that the balance of trade has risen significantly in favor of Si Lanka in recent years.

    “In the longer term, we must look to address this imbalance,” Sheikh said asking the UK government to clarify what action is being taken to achieve this.

    “Aside from our historical ties and the strong Sri Lankan economy and business base, there are many other reasons for us to promote and further bilateral trade,” the House of Lords member said citing Sri Lanka’s ease of doing business and infrastructure development among others.

    However, he said, further modernization is needed and the opportunities for British businesses are vast.

    “The future potential for Sri Lanka is huge, but it will be reached only through continued and expanded bilateral trade with countries such as ours,” Sheikh said.

    Speaking at the short debate, Lord Naseby, a long-time supporter of Sri Lanka said “With a Free Trade Agreement with China to be signed shortly adding to the existing FTAs with Pakistan, India, South Asia and Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka could act as a regional hub to over 3 billion potential customers.”

    The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Livingston said Sri Lanka is actually the highest rated country in South Asia in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index but there are opportunities to improve the position still further.

    “We are encouraging the Government of Sri Lanka to take steps to make it easier for British companies to do business there and to reduce the barriers to foreign investment. We believe that Sri Lanka and Britain can also build further trade relationships through the Commonwealth by utilizing the expertise and drive found in organizations such as the new Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, which I am delighted to say is being partially funded by this Government,” Livingston said.

    The UK Government will also look to hold more trade missions to Sri Lanka so that companies can understand the scale of the opportunities, as they are indeed immense not only within the country itself, but also as a regional hub, he said.

    Livingston told the House that the UK Government wants to build an even stronger bilateral trade relationship with Sri Lanka in exports, in imports and in investment while continuing to urge Sri Lanka to make progress on the important matters of human rights and reconciliation.

    “In that way, and together with trade, Sri Lanka can secure long-lasting peace and prosperity for all the people of that country,” the House of Lords member said.

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