The support for abolishing the Executive Presidency is a ‘Fool’s Errand’
Posted on April 23rd, 2018

Ranjith Soysa MEDIA RELEASE SPUR (Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka Inc)

– 22 April 2018

The Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka (SPUR) joins other nationalist organisations, professionals and patriotic politicians in strongly condemning the proposal to abolish the Executive Presidential System in Sri Lanka.

The territorial integrity and unitary state of the nation is critically dependent on an Executive President who is directly elected by all its eligible citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or regional/local interests.  In particular, it acts as a counterweight to the separatist features of the 13th Amendment because the peoples’ sovereignty over the entire nation is exercised by the President through the Provincial Governors.

It is indeed the Executive President, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, who played a vital role in providing political leadership and mobilising the resources to protect the country from the separatist forces and resisted foreign interference during war with the Tamil Tiger Terrorists.   Even in recent times, the perpetrators of infamous Central Bond Scam would not have been exposed even to this extent if not for the intervention of the President.

At a time when the legislative arm of the country has been prone to instability and is being held to ransom by power brokers, it is the Executive Presidency which retains the important role of balancing the power blocks and setting the political direction for Sri Lanka as a whole.

The Presidential System of Government is widely and successfully used in both Western and Eastern countries.  While improvements to the Sri Lankan Constitution are always possible, they should be done with proper analysis and consultation rather than as an expedient short-cut to power at the expense of the nation’s stability and security.

In the present context, hasty steps are being taken to introduce a new constitution at the behest of the separatist diaspora as well as the external powers which are attempting to change the character of Sri Lanka by enhancing the powers of the periphery at the expense of a strong and unifying centre.  The sudden interest of the JVP and other fringe groups in promoting this as a ‘democratic’ solution is nothing but a trap to enshrine the separatist ‘power sharing’ among racist enclaves within a weakened Sri Lankan State.

It is indeed unfortunate that some representatives of the Joint Opposition appear to support the abolition of the executive presidency.   Those on this ‘fool’s errand’, dreaming that it could be linked to the dissolution of Parliament followed by early election, are in fact ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water’ in return for short-term gains in political power.

Hence, we urge the Joint Opposition, the SLFP as well as the patriotic members of all other parties to oppose any proposal to abolish the Executive Presidency.  We also appeal to the people of Sri Lanka to be alert to this impending threat and reject any such Constitutional Amendment if and when it is placed before them at a future Referendum.

Ranjith Soysa

(Spokesperson)

14 Responses to “The support for abolishing the Executive Presidency is a ‘Fool’s Errand’”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you SPUR for coming up in defence of the EP. We will be doomed if this last control is taken out.

    RAW funded JVP are doing what their pay master says with sweet stories on Mother Lanka and hate speeches on MR.

    JVP should be exposed for this treacherous act against Mother Lanka and should be chased away.

  2. Christie Says:

    EP was imposed on the Sinhala nation by India with the provincial councils.

    Under the old constitution the PM can declare emergency and have executive powers.

    The EP system was introduced by India so that the Indian Colonial Parasite block vote can decide the President with their block vote.

    Bandaranayke and JRJ are pro Indian. Premadasa was a bit in the middle that is why India blew him up.

    Mahinda was an Indian Choice but he turned against India.

    India tried get rid of him in 2010 with backing of Sarath Fonseka.

    India won in 2015 with Sirisena.

    Why Jeppos are bringing this is a question only known to Indian interests.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    I partly agree with Christie that EP is sustained by India.

    13A cannot be removed because of 2 presidential commitments were made to India in 1987 and 2009 for 13A. It is absurd to say EP must be kept until 13A is kept. In reality 13A remains as long as EP remains.

    Strongest 13A supporters want to keep EP for this reason. Abolishing EP is essential to remove 13A.

  4. Hiranthe Says:

    @ Christie,

    If I am correct JR introduced the EP in 1978. PC’s were introduced under 13a by India in 1987. These two happened in different times.

    Getting executive powers to PM under emergency may be good if the PM is a patriotic person. With Runil on PM’s chair it will pave the way for the Ealam easily. (Remember CFA in 2001). Opportunists in the parliament will vote for anything if money is circulated. They will sell their mothers and daughters too for money, otherwise how can they do these damages to Mother Lanka.

    @ Dilrook,

    How come abolishing EP is essential to remove 13A? If that is the case, abrogation of 13A and abolition of EP should be done simultaneously under 20a.

    If that happens, no serious issues any more threatening to sovereignty of Mother Lanka.

    But with 20a only EP is going away strengthening the PC’s leading to Ealam.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    @Hiranthe

    EP has given two internationally binding commitments to keep 13A. It is ideal to abrogate both at the same time. But the next best thing is the abolish either of them.

    It does not lead to Eelam. Supreme Court has enough power to prevent that. In fact, EPs have been very accommodating of Eelamists. It need not be so. Ever wondered why the strongest supporters of 13A want to keep EP?

  6. Hiranthe Says:

    @ Dilrook,

    If we abrogate both EP and 13a at the same time, this so called internationally binding commitment will become null & void.

    If we only abolish the EP, 13a will stay more solid and it will be fully cemented which even the legislature can not touch. In the absence of the executive, the next authority over it will be the legislature, not the judiciary as I understand. Supreme Court can not do anything if the parliament rectifies certain legislature.

    In this scenario, can we bank on the money thirst hooligans in the parliament to protect Mother Lanka? I doubt very much.

    Only God may help Mother Lanka

  7. Dilrook Says:

    Not true.

    That is the first step in removing 13A. Sri Lanka cannot be divided. 6A prevents it. The president is also a politician. He is no better than the rest of the politicians.

    Imagine Sri Lanka’s president is someone who fears war crimes charges. What not will he betray to save his skin!

  8. aloy Says:

    If you cannot beat them, join them!. This seems to be the motto of Sirasa to speak highly of JVP at this time. This is the impression I get from their interview of Nalinda Jayatissa today.
    Why cannot Sinhala man understand what will happen if the current set up gets the power to do as they wish. Given the promise of something next time, our weak prez also will be “waasi peththata hoiya”. Going by narratives of Dilrook et al, barring a divine intervention poor SL is going through the last days of her existence as one unit. MR always boasts that he is the savior of SL. I now know he is going to be the destroyer Mother Lanka. He will not have an election to win again.

  9. aloy Says:

    The names of 28000 odd security personnel who gave their lives to keep the country in one piece are etched in stone near Diyawanna less than 200 meters away. The JVP themselves gave the lives of some 60000 youths on a campaign which they started for the same cause. I did not see their men burning on tires on Colombo streets. But my daughter did and was greatly moved. I remember she even did a write up on what she saw. All that is in vain. When Anura Kumara took a flight with a first class ticket we knew which direction he was heading. All this time he has been performing a great play and hoodwinked the masses.
    Can the security forces who made the sacrifices stay idle when a bunch of corrupt men in parliament in Diyawanna give away the very thing they fought for, on a platter?.

  10. charithsls Says:

    There are several issues here,
    1. Which is better for our country EP or PM? I think all agree it is the EP.
    2.However which is more likely to be won by a patriotic? certainly it is PM.
    Then why should we support EP which is not achievable ( though better)? Can all those who want EP (including me) show number wise winning the EP is practical?
    3. On the other hand we know Ranil without a backbone gives everything away to the USA/West/India. However what would then happen, in this uncertain world, he becomes the EP? finished! There is every likelihood if not him, another not so good chap from the UNP can win the EP in future with block votes. A chap like Ravi could be worse, I don’t think Sajith ,young & inexperienced & ignorant could fare better. Are we ready to face this reality, the all powerful EP in an unpatriotic hand?

  11. Dilrook Says:

    That is a true comment.

    With enormous financial clout of the LTTE Rump, India and USA, backed by Tamil and Muslim bloc vote, UNP has a very good chance of winning EP (post-war). Although Sirisena won in 2015, behind him was the UNP.

    If there was no war, Ranil would have won it in 1999 and 2005.

    It is foolish blame that Sinhalese are divided. The majority is divided in every country. For instance Modi’s coalition won less than 40% almost entirely of Hindu votes.

    What if Gotabaya and Basil were unable to shed their US citizenship on time? USA will likely drag its feet not to allow them. That will divide the SLPP and give UNP an easy win. The purpose of introducing EP by JR was the give UNP an unfair advantage.

  12. Hiranthe Says:

    I am a strong supporter of EP because of the war won by MR.
    I now agree with Dilrook that JR devised the EP system to get an undue advantage to UNP.
    We had 4 EP’s prior to MR but they could not win the war. I now agree that it is not the EP which saved Mother Lanka but the personality of MR.
    Thank you Dilrook for this eye opener. But I still have a big reservation on 13a.
    If 20a has a provision that PM has the power to dissolve PSs, that fear will be gone.

  13. aloy Says:

    You cannot take chances on state affairs. Countries like Malaysia never give a chance to a minority or someone allied to them lead their country and therefore they are safe. If we have to survive as a nation never give a opportunity to such people into important places that are crucial to the existence of the nation. This is what happened in Central Bank case; a dubious character was allowed to creep in. No point in closing the stable after the horse has bolted. The damage is done and there will be no return. The current leader who call the shots will let the N&E break away for his survival and then there will be the Eelam warV.

  14. Dilrook Says:

    That is true. Executive presidency or not Mahinda would have won the war. That is due to his personal convictions. His predecessors not only failed to win the war but also made a subsequent win nearly impossible. It’s said Sirima was the “only man” in parliament in early April 1971 when Sri Lanka faced a military threat for the first time. She crushed it in days with minimum civilian deaths and damage to property. It took 2 EPs 3 years, scores of civilian deaths and massive damage to property to resolve the samething 16 years later.

    Another example is Gotabaya. He was just a ministry secretary. There were over 50 of them at that time. But he achieved what was once thought impossible.

    Even JR’s boldest move of introducing free market economy was done as PM, not EP in July 1977. There was no EP for another 6 months. Previous PMs on average took bold decisions than myseriously ended in 1978 with the EP. One out of 6 EPs is not a good guide for its continuation given that almost all governments before EP were far more bold than governments headed by an EP.

    Our PM headed governments bowed to international pressure only once in 1951. But EP headed governments always bow to international pressure. 1981 Sepala Ekanayake case, 1985 Thimpu demands, 1986 Iranawila surrender, 1987 Indo Lanka Peace Accord, 1992 surrender to World Bank, 1998 and 2001 surrender to IMF, 2002 co-chairs surrender, 2004 PTOMS attempt, 2007 US defence agreement, 2009 surrender to India, UN, UNHRC, 2010 surrender of army headquarters to a hotel and 2015 UNHRC surrender.

    This is because an EP needs minority support to win and/or retain it. A PM in a parliamentary system without EP can be elected with Sinhala votes only.

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