LET’S MAKE PEOPLES SOVEREIGNTY A REALITY
Posted on January 4th, 2015

By Chandrasiri Atukorale

Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena is going around the country saying that he will abolish the present Executive Presidency in 100 days, if he is elected president at the forthcoming presidential election. At the same time he also says that he will appoint Mr. Ranil Wickremasignhe as his Prime Minister.

What next is not clear.

Herein lies the crux of the whole matter. As regards the abolishing of the executive presidency Mr. Ranil Wickramsgnhe say quite a different thing; instead of abolishing it, he says he will retain it subject to few amendments (17th & 18th). Another Maithree stalwart, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunge says she stands for a United Lanka: for a federal constitution. Mr. Wickremasignhe is silent on that point and makes no voice about it. In the midst of all this Mr. Champika Ranawaka says quite a different thing: he will not allow anyone to change the Unitary Character of the Sri Lankan state at any cost.

Now the question is this? How is he to reconcile his unitary state with that of Mrs. Kumaratunga’s Federal stand? Champika has not yet given any clear answer to this question.

In this battle Mrs. Kumaratunge is espousing the cause of a United Lanka: a federal form of Government. She believes in the saying one cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs”. In other words she wants to break the unitary character of this country in order to make her United Lanka: a federal state.

Mr .Sirisena has not himself been very consistent in his views with regard to his main election pledge, which is the abolishing of the Executive Presidency. Thus, it is clear from what is said above that these leaders hold different views on this same matter each contradicting the other much to the dismay of civic conscious citizen. All the time Mr. Sirisena answers questions which had never been put to him, but not the questions asked.

At the moment we don’t hear HIS VOICE, but only his MASTERS VOICE: VOICE OF AMERICA.

In the present context of our politics there is no any demand from the Public for the abolishing of the Executive Presidency despite its political significance as a propaganda ploy. What is the big hurry to abolish Executive Presidency?

Who in fact asked for such constitutional changes? We must not lose sight of the wood for the trees.

Mr Sirisens is deluding himself if he thinks it is going to be easy. This is one of the biggest pieces of humbug ever foisted on this country. This is a case of blind leading the blind.

The danger inherent in this move is very great, and the country has to be very cautious for the things to come.

Some Western powers want to topple the Rajapakse Regime as it does not bend its back for them to ride.

Regime change is a phrase very often used in Western Diplomatic circles as a prelude to destabilize progressive states.

There was a regime change in Iraq and today it’s a pool of blood.

In Libya there was a regime change. The whole country is like a battlefield with people fighting against each other.  In Egypt this so called Regime change ended in a Blood Bath. Syria awaits the same fate.

All these countries were destabilised by invisible hands hiding its face under the screen of Good Governance, Democracy, Media freedom etc..As such, we must learn our lesson from these recent events in history.

Although Mr. Sirisena is making a hue and cry for the need of the abolishing of the present Executive Presidency and turn to such concepts as Good Governance, Democracy, Media freedom and so on he has not yet himself been able to place before the country even a draft copy of his proposed Constitution.

People cannot contemplate with equanimity the continuance of a situation like this when it comes to the question of determining the fate of the nation. We do not want this misrepresentation to continue.

The frequent repeal of one constitution and its replacements by another of the same type under a different name would do no good either to the people or the country; this is not the time for us to learn things through trial and error learning.

Executive Presidency is a bogey that they have planted in our midst as a prelude to mislead the general public. When we are reticent about certain things we cannot see the full truth.

Full truth is not palatable to all. Executive Presidency has nothing to do with present constitutional abuses. Power of the Executive Presidency depends all ways on the numerical strength of his parliamentary majority.

In the absence of the 2/3 majority in the parliament Executive President is helpless. It is completely absurd to think that Executive Presidency has given rise to the constitutional excesses eroding democratic values.

The defects of our system of Executive Presidency is  to be found  not in the powers of President, but elsewhere. It is the inadequacy of checks & balances in the Constitution itself that has engendered a situation like this. The present indirect checks like impeachment and judicial review are not enough to prevent these power abuses. Today it needs direct checks like Recall, Initiative & Referendum to curb the abuses of power by the rulers. Although Mr. Sirisens is highly lamenting over the fact that the executive wields more power he has no such lamentation for the special powers and privileges enjoyed by the country’s elected representatives in the legislature,. As an example we can cite the parliamentary immunity: He cannot be prosecuted for his speeches or votes: again, he cannot be arrested and brought to court without the permission of the Speaker. What about their privileges!! Duty free Vehicle Permits, Subsidised Meals, Enhanced Pay Packets &Pensions and the likes which they enjoy at the expense of the poor taxpayers. In this country people are granted the sole right to decide once in 6 years who is to represent them in parliament. Though he is elected by the votes of citizen he is not bound by the Will of the People. As a case in point we cite the recent crossovers from the Government to the Opposition. In the face of such crossovers Executive President could do nothing: for they are viewed in the law as the representatives of the Nation and cannot be recalled by their own electorate before the expiry of their term of office even if the electors has lost confidence in them.

 Then where does the defect lie?

It lies in the power assigned to elected representative to act arbitrarily in disregard of the will of the people. They are not accountable to the people.

All powerful Legislature is more dangerous than Executive Presidency. Mr Sirisena’s and his aligned parties want to assign divinity to Parliament. As things stand at present, our elected representatives are like merchandise. They are marketable at various prices, though it is not known to the people. NGO’s are their bidders. Whither the peoples Sovereignty? We don’t want a NGO controlled Parliament.

To guard against abuse of power, either by Executive or Legislature, Peoples sovereignty must be made a political reality. Mr.Sirisena’s idea of attaching Divinity to Parliament by abolishing the Executive Presidency is a remedy worse than the disease. Recent crossovers show our politicians are more susceptible to Bribery and Corruption.

They want to make a constitution untouchable to the people.

Sovereignty is in the people: It is inalienable. This is the pre-condition of Democracy and it’s the responsibility of all responsible citizens in the country at this critical juncture to safeguard it by casting its vote wisely and intelligently.

One Response to “LET’S MAKE PEOPLES SOVEREIGNTY A REALITY”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Most Sri Lankans are smart enough to NOT to vote for the CHANGE for the WORSE
    Nobody wants to jump from the frying pan into the fire…

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