The Executive Presidency should be abolished
Posted on December 27th, 2018

Chanaka Bandarage

JR Jayawardane stated that in the Constitution that he drafted in 1978 he could do anything except, ‘change a man into a woman and vice versa’.

When the Executive Presidency was introduced, Dr NM Perera asked the question If an insane person becomes a president, what would be the state of the country?”

Proponents of the Executive Presidency argue that if not for the existence of that position, the country would not have eradicated terrorism.

It needs to bear in mind that the seed of terrorism was planted by the LTTE when the Executive Presidency was in existence.  True, it was during Sirima Bandaranaike’s time that Prabhakaran  made his first terrorist act –  killing of the Jaffna mayor, Alfred Durraiappah in 1975, but JR Jayawardane had ample opportunity to’ nip the LTTE terrorism in the bud’ but he spectacularly failed.  During his time not only did the seed of LTTE terrorism grow into a giant tree, despite the enormous powers he had, JR Jayawardane had absolutely no knowledge of how to curb or control it.

Looking back at the recent past, it was during JR Jayewardene’s Executive Presidency that so much of damage and destruction has happened to the country.  The causation for same – taking wrongful decisions, should be directly apportioned to him; the Executive President:

  • By introducing an open market economy on an ad hoc basis, the country became everyone’s dumping ground for goods. The country’s agriculture and local industries collapsed.  By 1977, the country had almost become self-sufficient in food thanks to the  previous Sirima Bandaranaike government.  But, JR Jayawardane recklessly opened the ‘flood gates’ allowing the import of almost every food item to the country.  Basically, all that was achieved through the hard work of Sirima Bandaranaike government was wiped off/destroyed.  He failed to introduce measures to protect local farmers and local industries.  Stringent tariffs that any country would impose on imports that are harmful to local producers were not introduced.  The result of the collapse of the local industry is that today we import almost everything that we require, from the paper clip onwards.
  • Large scale corruption that was previously unheard of became the norm of the day. A perception was created that not only corruption was alright, it was also respectable. The then President kept a blind eye allowing his ministers and faithfuls to plunder the country’s wealth willy nilly.
  • Communal riots broke out frequently where innocent Tamils were subjected to death and their properties were destroyed. We are still paying a huge price for the infamous ‘Black July of 1983’. The then President omitted to act fast, a grave lapse on his part.
  • When the brave armed forces had cornered the terrorist leader Prabhakaran and his cohorts in Vedamarachchi (in 1986), JR Jayawardane abruptly stopped the onslaught.
  • When the whole country opposed it, the then President signed the Indo-Lanka pact with India in 1987. He placed the country under curfew and signed it.  In the said document, he wrongfully acknowledged that the north and the east are traditional Tamil homelands.
  • The then President enacted the 13th Amendment which has caused enormous damage to the country. Under pressure from a foreign government, the then President quite unnecessarily agreed to create nine provincial governments in Sri Lanka.  Not only that they are useless, ineffective and infested with corruption – as alleged by many; they have become massive white elephants in their own right.
  • Re-emergence of the JVP insurrection in the late 1980s which not only destroyed the country’s economy but also thousands of precious lives.

This trend of terrorist killings, bomb blasts and destruction to property continued under subsequent Presidents, until Mahinda Rajapakse took control of the war between 2007 – 2009.

Under the Executive Presidents thus far, not only has the country’s economy deteriorated (we are one of the main debt ridden countries of the world), we have destroyed our natural environment.  We could not even stop the Human – Elephant conflict (due to extensive jungle clearing the conflict was exacerbated by the accelerated Mahaveli Development program).  Bribery, corruption and malpractices have become rampant and they have become part and parcel of our daily lives.  It has come to a position that corruption is tolerated and accepted as respectable.  In law and order, the country has performed badly and overall, we seem to have become a less loving and a caring society.

Mahinda Rajapakse showed brave leadership and crushed the terrorists in May 2009.  This is an extraordinary achievement.  It equals the Great War waged by King Dutu Gamunu against Elara.

The writer states that this reason alone should not be a reason to maintain the Executive Presidency.

Mahinda Rajapakse would have done same if he was the Prime Minister.  He could have still utilised the services of Gotabhaya  Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka, the brave stalwarts who were directly responsible for bringing us the war victory (other leaders who worked with absolute commitment and dedication like Wasantha Karannadoda, Roshan Gunathilake etc should not be forgotten).

We should bear in mind that Sirima Bandaranaike as the then Prime Minister successfully repulsed the 1971 JVP insurrection.  She did not possess Executive Presidential powers then.

The writer stresses that though the Executive Presidency helped us to crush the terrorists, it is not a reason for us to keep same forever.

JR Jayawardane did not create the Executive Presidency to curb a terrorist war.  It was his mere desire to possess total power.

The writer states that the Executive Presidency has now reached its ‘expiry date’ and it should be abolished.  He outlines the following further reasons:

Since winning the war in 2009, the country has grown into a ‘different country’. Today our priority is not curbing a terrorist war, but, sustainable economic development.  Reconciliation has also become a main focus of the governments (the writer stresses that reconciliation should not be a ‘one-way street’; it is unfair to demand one section of the community (ie Sinhalese) to make all the commitments/sacrifices).

Sadly, since winning the war, the Executive Presidents rather than strengthening the military has taken action to weaken them.  Scores of military camps have been closed in the north and the east and the trend continues.  The military run cafes, cafeterias, guest houses that the southern visitors to the north used to patronage were closed down.  The valuable LTTE sites that the military maintained (like Prabhakaran’s mansions/swimming pools, LTTE bunkers, Soosai’s home etc), which southerners and foreign tourists were eager to view were demolished/destroyed.  They were incentives for the southerners to visit the north, such visits (seldom now) are an integral part of creating ethnic harmony/reconciliation.  Furthermore, the LTTE sites were important to be kept (under the military control) as the northerners would then not forget the atrocities committed by the meglomanic terrorist leader.

The governments under the Executive Presidents have failed to build hostels, pilgrims rests etc in the north and the east for the southerners visiting those areas as they are essential to their safety.  Today, Sinhalese visiting the north and the east are struggling to find safe accommodation, bearing in mind the emergence of various armed groups like the Ava group.

The Executive Presidents have failed to resettle the displaced Sinhalese and the Muslims in the north and the east.  Nothing was done to assist the average Sinhalese in the south who wants to set up a home for themselves in the north or the east.  Wigneswaran led NPC government took a heavy hand on the Sinhalese who wished to live in that province and did all it could to stop same from happening.  Even placing a new Buddha statue in a public place for worship was opposed by that administration.  The list of discrimination/racism against the Sinhalese by the Wigneswaran led Northern Provincial Government (NPC) is a long one.

In the recent past, under the rule of the Executive Presidents even the military that are stationed in the north and the east have been largely confined to barracks.  It is stated that more than 60,000 acres of land that the Army had occupied had been disbanded in the past few years.  The writer is unsure of these numbers.  There is more land to be  released before the end of this year.

Again all those decisions have been taken by the Executive Presidents in their capacity as the Defence Minister.

It is strange that such actions have received little criticism.  People in the south seem uninterested about the north and the east, as long as they remain parts of Sri Lanka.  This is not wise thinking on their part.

Whether a Prime Minister with executive powers would act differently is a matter that cannot be addressed now.  No one can predict who would become the country’s first and subsequent executive Prime Ministers.  It is not relevant to the matter that is at hand.

The good thing is that the proposed executive Prime Minster will be estopped from acting arbitrarily; it is a must that he/she will have to work in unison with the cabinet of ministers.

Under the present system, the President could take decisions willy nilly.  As enunciated above, since ending the war they have made lots of bad decisions.  It is possible that the country may pay dearly for them one day.

The writer states that overall, the Executive Presidency has failed the country.  It has not solved people’s problem. It has failed to find solutions to people’s new problems.

An important criteria of Westminster democracy is that important decisions of a country should not be taken by just one person.  They are taken by a cabinet of ministers presided over by a Prime Minister.  This is fundamental to most democratic governments such as UK, Canada, Australia, India, Malaysia, South Africa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Singapore.  We were also like them prior to 1978.

One major drawback in the current system is that the Presidnet is not directly answerable to the Parliament.  He does not attend parliamentary sittings and answer questions.  But, under the proposed system the cabinet presided over by a Prime Minister will be directly answerable to the people, through the parliament.  This is the ‘Supremacy of the People’ maintained through the Parliament.

Some argue that in Sri Lanka the cabinet may be comprised of ministers who would favour separatism and also that the future executive Prime Minister may not act in the best interests of the country.  But, this is a hypothetical argument that cannot be addressed here.

If there is a fear that the executive Prime Minister as chairperson of the cabinet would heed to unfair minority demands, then same or more fear should exist if that person is elected by the people as the Executive President.

 

Say, a person against whom the people have doubts about becoming the proposed Prime Minister becomes the President after winning at a Presidential election, then those people should be extra alarmed.  This is because the current Executive President has more powers than the future executive Prime Minister.

 

Again, it is much better for a group of persons to discuss issues and make decisions consensually, rather than one single person (the Presidnet) making them of his/her own.  Note Dr NM Perera’s above statement.

What if an Executive President decides to act solely and close all military camps in the north and the east, merge the north and the east or release all political prisoners (as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and Defence Minister he does have such powers).  We would have no recourse at all then.  Impeaching him/her would not be a solution as the ‘horse had then bolted’. The good thing in the proposed system is that the Prime Minister as chairperson of the cabinet would not have such exclusive powers to exercise.  His/her powers will be much limited.

Some argue that one would not be able to place trust in the cabinet and maintaining the status quo is the best option.  They see the current Executive Presidency as a safety net for the majority Sinhalese.  They argue that since the President of Sri Lanka would always be a Sinhalese, it is safer to have the present system.  This argument has no substance.  Under the proposed system, the likely Prime Minister will emerge either from the SLFP (Pohottuwa included) or UNP.  And leaders of those two parties have always been a Sinhalese.  In any case, our history is such that there had been Sinhala kings who had been unfaithful to the nation.  There had been kings who had betrayed the nation.

We should also realise that in the future no one would be able to win a Presidential Election without the minority’s support.  This means even a future Executive Presidnet will have to make promises to secure the minority vote.  This is what happened in the 2015 Presidential election.

The President is now carrying out the promises he had made to TNA at the 2015 election – to release military land in the north and the east to people and various provincial government instrumentalities.  It may perhaps be that certain military camps are required to be close down for this purpose.  The writer is unaware of the details.  He fears that these action could have serious ramifications.

A main reason why the Executive Presidency should be abolished is the emergence of the situation where the President and the Prime Minister coming from opposing political parties and failing to work as a team, and start to ‘fight’ among themselves. Such a situation is a recepie for disaster.  It is the country that will suffer and the people will have to pay a huge price for their leaders’ egos.  Due to close elections that we are bound to have in the future, such situations could become the norm of the day.

More reasons why the Executive Presidency should go:

 

Costs

 

Today the President’s office has become a mammoth establishment.  It is so giant; it is capable of running the country single handedly by itself.

 

The writer has read that at least Rs 200 million is required to sustain the Executive Presidency each day.  In the Parliament, it was recently revealed that an amount closer to Rs 5500 million was spent as the President’s expenditure over a 3 or 4 months period.  The writer is unsure about the correctness of these amounts.  They could be less or even more.  In any case, it seems that the money required to sustain the Executive Presidency is enormous in any standard – even for a rich country.

Duplicity in work

The government ministries and the office of the Executive President seem to carry out the same functions in different forms.  This is a clear duplication of work.

Currently, the government enacts policies in the parliament and implements them through the ministers.  The cabinet is presided over by the President.  At the same time the Presidential secretariat runs its own policies and implements them through various staff.  For this, a large staff is attached to the Presidential Secretariat.  The exact number of Consultants, Secretaries, Directors and other staff work for the President is unknown, they must be in the hundreds or even in the thousands.

Under the 19th Amendment the President’s authority is now restricted and the President is allocated only two ministries.  This is good.

But, it is not a secret that the Presidents are likely to interfere in the works of the government ministers, bypassing the authority of the Prime Minister, who is currently above the ministers.  The President can give direct orders to ministry secretaries.  This conflicts with the work that the ministers undertake.

Again, basically, the Presidnet and the ministers doing the same or similar work differently is a clear duplication of work.  Then, vast sums of money are wasted.  Especially as both the President and the ministers spend large amounts of money to publicise their work.

For example, the Agriculture department has its own grow organic food scheme, the President’s office runs a similar program.  The government’s social service programs such as Samurdhi, Gamperaliya and Enterprise Lanka are directly in conflict with the President’s Grama Shakthi program.  The government has grassroots level presence in the villages through Grama Sevakas, Samurdhi officers etc.  The President’s office has a Purawesi Athwela program.  There exists an Economic Development ministry, then the President runs his own National Economic Council.  The list goes on.

The President currently is in charge of the ministries of Defence (the ministry of Law and Order is included), Environment and Mahaveli, the President’s fund, and the Sanvardhana Lottery.

It is stated that the President’s fund is not subject to audits (from inception).  If this is true, it is not good.  There should be checks and balances against all public funds/accounts.

Usually the President makes appointments of the High Commissioners and Ambassadors.  Here, again one person making important appointments of his own.

Fortunately, the President’s powers are curtailed by the four Independent Commissions (19th Amendment).

Mismanagement and maladministration

There are hundreds or thousands of vehicles in the President’s Office vehicle pool.  Some of the vehicles used by the pre-2015 January administration were unable to be located several months into the new administration.

Thousands of people are attached to the Presidential security division.

Hundreds of people work in the President’s media section.

These are enormous bureaucracies within the President’s office.

The irony is that similar offices are maintained by another arm of the Executive – the office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

A large number of prime governmental buildings have been allocated for the use of the President’s office.  A number of buildings, mainly in Fort, have been taken on lease, the rent paid is unknown, but must be substantial.

Sri Lanka, a heavily debt ridden country, cannot afford to sustain ‘two machinery of executive governments’ – the office of the Executive President and the Prime Minister and  the cabinet (ministries).  Surely, one of them must be disbanded.  It should be the office of the Executive President that must go.  This must happen as early as conveniently.

Proponents of the current system

Those who want to keep the current Presidential system in tact state that there is an attempt to divide the nation through the proposed 20th Amendment.  It is too premature to make such a critique as the bill to amend the Constitution through the 20th Amendment by JVP has not yet been released to the public.  In the event that it has been released (recently) the writer has not yet perused same.  Hence, he cannot comment about the criticism.

As patriots, we have fought tooth and nail to oppose provisions to amend the Constitution that are harmful to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will continue to fight for same in the  future.

It is important to bear in mind that abolition of the Executive Presidency and amending the Constitution to grant more powers to the provinces (in realty to the north and the east) are two separate issues.  The TNA is hell bent on asking for the latter – the Constitutional amendments. It is difficult to see how abolishment of the Executive Presidency would advance secession.

It is the people through a referendum that could determine such things as whether or not a Tamil Eelam should be created (not by the incoming executive Prime Minister – whoever it would be).

13th Amendment

The writer states that when abolishing the Executive Presidency the 13th Amendment should also be abolished.  The Provincial councils are also a giant white elephant.  The provincial councils are a useless administrative machinery and are unsuitable for a small country like Sri Lanka.  It is good for geographically big countries like India, Canada and France. Note that Australia has provincial governments but smaller New Zealand does not have them.

What Sri Lanka needed is a strong central government with power decentralised through GAs, Pradeshiya Sabhas and Municipal Councils.   This is what we had under the old Saulbury Constitution.

We know that though majority of the people want the abolition of the provincial councils, unfortunately, there is no political will to do so.  All major  political parties want to preserve them.

There were opportunities to quash the 13th Amendment in May 2009 (soon after winning the terrorist war) and in 2012 before establishing the NPC.  What we demanded in 2012 was to abolish all 9 provincial councils through a nationwide referendum.  But, the then government was disinterested in the proposal.  The then government was determined to establish the NPC knowing well that Wigneswaran was becoming the TNA’s Chief Minister (his candidature was announced prematurely).

Since inception in 1987, so much ‘water has flown under the 13th Amendment bridge’, it is unlikely that the legislatures would agree to dismantle the provincial government system.  This is unfortunate (like many Sri Lankans, the writer will be extremely happy if this giant while elephant is abolished).

JVP proposals

The writer is not a proponent of the JVP proposals to abolish the Executive Presidency.  This is because he has not seen the full set of the proposal.  But, he states prima facie the JVP proposals sound good.  The writer fundamentally agrees with the fight launched by Ven Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero that the Presidential system should be abolished.  In the ITN interview that the venerable Thero participated just prior to his demise in 2016; what he professed therein about the abolition of the Executive Presidency is totally correct.

Non-Executive President

The writer agrees that a non-Executive President should be appointed and he/she should be the nominal head of the state.  That position can be appointed by the majority vote of the Parliament.

The writer opposes giving extraordinary powers to the said nominal President such as the Defence power and any ministries.  Like in India the non-Executive Presidnet could be the ceremonial head of the defence forces, without specific powers such as giving orders to defence establishments. Defence should be a separate cabinet ministry and defence related decisions should be taken jointly by the cabinet and the Prime Minister.  If we have a smaller cabinet (less than 30), it is easy to maintain cabinet confidentiality.  The cabinet will arrive at defence decisions upon receiving briefs from the heads of the military.

Ideally, the future non-Executive President should be akin to HE William Gopallawala who undertook Presidential duties between 1972 to 1977.  If more powers are given, it will be creating a very complicated situation.

The Australian Governor General is also a good model to have a look at.

End

It is the stance of most of the patriots that the current Executive Presidency should remain in tact. Of course, their points of view must be given due regard and respect.

They say this also owing to placing faith in a particular individual, who if elected, would no doubt act in the best interests of the country.  But, laws cannot be enacted to suit any particular person, and about things that may or may not happen in the future.  A country’s interests are far more important and greater than that of an individual.

The writer opposes the inclusion of granting Land and Police powers to the provinces in the proposed 20th Amendment.  The 20th Amendment should be confined to abolishing the Executive Presidency only (and abolition of the 13th Amendment if the legislature and the people at a referendum so agree).

But, provisions could be included in the 20th  Amendment to dismantle the appointment of MPs by way of the National List (chit MP system) and allowing political parties to suspend/dismiss MPs who crossover to other parties.  These are important reforms that will strengthen our democracy.

Once a Constitution, is made (20th Amendment), it should not be subjected to further amendments.  Constitutions are not like a ‘Dogs Act’ that can be subjected to repeated amendments.  They should not be varied in accordance with the desires and fancies of individuals.  The British, Australian, New Zealand, US and Singaporean Constitutions have never or rarely been amended.  That is the main reason why those countries have no constitutional crisis.  They run strong governments.  From 1948 to 1977, we had no constitutional crisis.  Since 1978, we have amended our Constitution 19 times!

Once the 20th Amendment is enacted, it is possible that the legislatures would start discussing the 21st Amendment!

That way of governance is reckless and the consequences could be dangerous.

In this article, the writer has shown that abolishment of the Executive Presidency is a very good move.  It would allow us to achieve a stable, conflict less, one Sri Lanka.  He has also shown the huge costs benefits that such an abolition would bring us.

28 Responses to “The Executive Presidency should be abolished”

  1. Randeniyage Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.
    However, priority should be to abolish 13A together with billions of money wasting Palaath Sabhas , followed by the ex-prezcy.
    Also too many cabinet positions plus state ministers an so on.
    Another requirement should be to qualification method when nominating Local Government bodies, which should be made apolitical to prevent party politics ruining governance.

    Poeple’s thinking of ONE STRONG MAN making our country great will never happen unless that man is someone who lost greed (ARAHANT). Therefore, everybody in the government shall be made accountable and not immune to Law, in order to control that greed.

  2. Caesar Says:

    Executive presidency should never be abolished!

    The Executive presidency the only guardian of Sinhela Buddhits, The Mother Lanka and it’s security should be further strengthened with additional powers vested on it over the legislature specifically above the Judiciary with the power to dissolve the parliament at president’s will at times of dangers to the country, Sinhela Nation and Buddhists in particular.

    Those who say otherwise are traitors and Anti Sinhala, Anti Buddhists.

    We cannot live with Muslims and Tamils in equal status, the subhumans should be placed of theirs.

    Hail Hitler !

  3. Chanaka B Says:

    “We should bear in mind that Sirima Bandaranaike as the then Prime Minister successfully repulsed the 1971 JVP insurrection. She did not possess Executive Presidential powers then.”

    “Under the proposed system, the likely Prime Minister will emerge either from the SLFP (Pohottuwa included) or UNP. And leaders of those two parties have always been a Sinhalese.”

    “Under the present system, the President could take decisions willy nilly. As enunciated above, since ending the war they have made lots of bad decisions. It is possible that the country may pay dearly for them one day. ”

    “It is stated that more than 60,000 acres of land that the Army had occupied had been disbanded in the past few years. The writer is unsure of these numbers. There is more land to be released before the end of this year. “

    “What if an Executive President decides to act solely and close all military camps in the north and the east, merge the north and the east or release all political prisoners (as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and Defence Minister he does have such powers). We would have no recourse at all then. Impeaching him/her would not be a solution as the ‘horse had then bolted’. The good thing in the proposed system is that the Prime Minister as chairperson of the cabinet would not have such exclusive powers to exercise. His/her powers will be much limited.”

    “Again, basically, the Presidnet and the ministers doing the same or similar work differently is a clear duplication of work.”

    “In any case, it seems that the money required to sustain the Executive Presidency is enormous in any standard – even for a rich country.”

  4. DR M D P DISSANAYAKE Says:

    Executive Presidency should never be abolished. For those who talk of Costs, they must also bear in mind the Benefits, for proper analysis. The benefits of retaining EP, is the ultimate benefit of retaining the unitary status of the State.
    There is no point of referring to Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike regime. Now things have changed. She did not fact LTTE war. We would not have destroyed LTTE if MR was not the EP, with wide range of powers.

  5. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    In Parliament
    TULF has 16 Seats for the total votes 515,963 which is only the 4.62%of the total votes
    JVP has 6 Seats for the total votes 543,944 4.87% of the total votes
    So it is not a clear cut proportional representation
    Therefore we can not give executive power to the parliament because it is not uniformly represented by the people.

    Because of this mis representation, in reality MPs will not vote for abolition of 13th amendment and get rid of provisional councils.

    The provisional councils are not only white elephants, but they are dangerous without executive president and you can not control them without unifying presidential executive power.

    So we like it or not we are stuck with the executive president and if you just abolish it without abolition of 13th Amendment, you are inevitably heading for separate state in North and East.

    Let us think wisely.

  6. Randeniyage Says:

    201 seats out of 225 are UNF and UPFA.
    This is 8/9 or nearly 90%. Therefore if there is a will it is the easiest job to get rid of dreaded Palaath Sabha.
    Even if we count all Sinhalese MPs voting for it, still 2/3 majority is easy to get.
    Reason is not that, because pf POWER GREED everyone dreaming to become the President.
    They don’t care about the country.

  7. Christie Says:

    Our voter demographics have changed. The Indian Colonial Parasite Block Vote will decide the President after few manipulations.

    The financiers of our politicos has not changed much but they have become much more stronger economically. More and more Indian Colonial Parasites and newly arriving Indian Parasites are wresting the control of our economy. Indian Empire is becoming more and more powerful and Indian Union is the 4th military power on earth.

    1. Look what our Indian puppet Sirisena did during the last two months. He almost destroyed Mahinda and SLPP. He worked hard for his supporters and earned a holiday in Thailand.

    2. In 2015 Sobitha divided the Sinhalese on Good Governance and Gnanasara alienated Sinhalese Muslims and Christians from Mahinda and the Indian block vote delivered Sirisena for India and Indian Colonists.

    3. In 2010 Fonseka almost won for India and Indian Parasites , thanks to the Indian Parasites’ Block Vote.

    4. In 2005 Indian Block vote abstained from voting and Mahinda won over Ranil. Mahinda was Indian’s preferred but he changed later.

    J R J was a cunning and crafty quarter Indian and he saw the power of the Indian Colonists block vote and the power of their wealth.

  8. Chanaka B Says:

    Thanks for your comments.

    It is important to have an informed debate on the subject. As this is a national issue that runs everyone’s emotions high, let us look at it wisely.

    I. You said – “retaining EP, is the ultimate benefit of retaining the unitary status of the State”;

    With respect, I do not see the logic in your statement.

    Why should we say that in order to preserve the unitary status, the presence of the Executive Presidency is a must?

    Ultimately everything comes to personalities.

    Note what Dr NM Perera stated.

    What if we have a traitor President? He can sell us well and truly to the separatists.

    If we have a traitor executive Prime Minister the same applies. But he/she will have fewer powers than the current Executive President, and that is good.

    Eg. use of Article 154J of the Constitution to dissolve a provincial council. Currently the President has this power. In the future, the Prime Minister as head of the cabinet will have this power. If we have a non patriotic Presidnet he might not use this power, when it must be used. If we have a patriotic executive Prime Minister he might use this power, when it must be used. We never know how people would act/react. Again, everything depends on personalities.

    We had Sinhalese kings who had betrayed the country.

    We had stupid kings (many) who were tricked by the colonialists. Eg. King, Dharma Parakramabahu, who held the seat in Kotte when the Portuguese anchored at Colombo Harbor, gifted Lorenzo De Almeida with tusked elephants and loaded the Portuguese ships with cinnamon, valuable timber, gems and all kinds of fruits. Why on earth did he do that? When King Dharma Parakramabahu died in 1519, the Portuguese had firmly established their footprint in Sri Lanka.

    Despite being a Sinhalese, the Executive President if he/she wanted, can play real havoc.

    We are releasing land in the north and the east at a breakneck speed.

    Fonseka recently stated he is concerned how Army numbers have been reduced in the north.

    Are we doing the right things?

    Why is it that no one raising a voice against these?

    II. You said – “There is no point of referring to Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike regime. Now things have changed. She did not fact LTTE war. “

    The fact that she brilliantly repulsed the 1971 coup using Prime Ministerial powers is very much relevant. This shows that the Prime Minister would still be able to do the job; and, what matters is the personality.

    III. You said –

    “We would not have destroyed LTTE if MR was not the EP, with wide range of powers.” –

    I am sorry I could not agree with this, unless you substantiate me how.

    JR, Premadasa, Chandrika all had the same power, but, they failed. It was MR’s personality.

    I say if MR was the Prime Minister, he still would have defeated the LTTE. There was enormous public support for the war. It all comes to using the Defence power correctly, with the correct people around. MR could have done it as the Prime Minister with Gota and Fonseka around.

    In any case, the war is over now. There is no signs of a similar war happening in the foreseeable future.

    IV. You said – “For those who talk of Costs, they must also bear in mind the Benefits, for proper analysis.”

    With respect, if you can clearly explain me what the ‘benefits’ are please.

    Costs is an extremely important issue.

    Simply, the country cannot be run this way.

    Since ending the war, the costs of maintaining the Executive Presidency has sky rocketed. We simply cannot afford to run such high costs especially when most of them are unnecessary and can be curtailed.

    Apart from costs, there is too much duplicity happening currently.

    Just as the Prime Minister, the Presidnet is also running a similar type machinery of his own. Then, he interferes into the Prime Minister’s tasks. A country cannot be run like this.

    So, in addition to costs, it is a situation that creates chaos, complications and dysfunctionality.

    V. You said TNA 16 seats

    Yes the worry is TNA 16 seats.

    Even if TNA gets into the cabinet, it is up to the Prime Minister to wisely exercise his Defence power. If TNA is in the cabinet, the leader of the opposition, who will be a Sinhalese, will obviously support the government in the event of a national calamity (an issue relating to the nation’s sovereignty and/or the territorial integrity). Note, the UNP supported the government to prosecute the last stages of the war.

    Unless someone shows me clearly how, I simply cannot see how abolition of the Executive Presidency would advance secession.

    VI. You said the 13th Amendment is more damaging than the Executive President.

    I fully agree.

    13th Amendment directly attacks our sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the root cause of most problems.

    If Wigneswaran wins again, he will try every trick in the book to declare the Tamil Eelam.

    Unfortunately there is no political will to abolish the provincial councils. It looks like we have to live with it.

    Again, it is the 13th Amendment that we must be alarmed of. We can live without the Executive Presidency comfortably.

    In the present set up we have two leaders.

    The country simply cannot be governed that way. Either the Executive Presidnet or the Prime Minister must go. I think it is the Presidnet that has to go. Currently, the need of the Prime Minister is a must – to run the Parliament.

    We should have a nominal Presidnet, being the head of the state. Like in India or Australia.

    It is a must that the country’s leader attends the Parliament and answer questions. At the moment he is distanced from the people (this is how JR wanted).

    I said: “From 1948 to 1977, we had no constitutional crisis. Since 1978, we have amended our Constitution 19 times!”

    This clearly shows we have a problem of governance. We still not have put our ‘house in order’. After 40 years, we are still trying to find a suitable Constitution for us!

    I think if we go back to the former model (pre 1978) that worked so well for us; we would be able to settle the Constitutional issue forever.

    The present ‘circus’ cannot go on.

    As I stated in the article –

    “Once the 20th Amendment is enacted, it is possible that the legislatures would start to discuss the 21st Amendment!”

    NPC is a nasty element. They simply do not want to co-exist with rest of the community. Tamil separatism is the biggest problem that the country faces today. Since winning the war, the Executive Presidents have failed to handle this major problem. Also, they have failed to handle the country’s other main problems. Not much has been done to curb corruption.

    Most of the time the problem itself has been the Executive Presidency.

    If we continue with the current system, it will fail us again and again.

    Only a brave leader who has wisdom, will handle the 13th Amendment problem correctly. He/she will place the matter before the people at a referendum and will seek a mandate re repealing same. A brave leader will be able to explain to the international community why we must do this (abolish the 13).

    As this is a very important debate, please feel free to comment.

  9. aloy Says:

    Executive presidency should never be abolished. It looks like Chanaka B has undertaken a contract to advocate for abolishing EP in a country where he does not have sole citizenship. Such people cannot eve be an MP in SL.

    Look at what is happening in your country- Australia. How many PMs have changed in five years. If we go back to Westminster system our monkeys (or frogs) will play hell. Actually our country needs a benevolent dictator to control the unruly people. Unruliness is in our blood. I am sorry to say that Buddhism has not been able to eradicate it.

    Moreover UNP did not get a mandate or even a simple majority change the constitution of SL; they are only trying to fulfill an obligation to TNA. The Sinhala votes that were cast for prez was to stop such unpatriotic acts of UNP.

  10. Cerberus Says:

    Suggestions for survival in Sri Lanka :
    (1) To survive in Sri Lanka, remove the 13-A & the 19-A, both sets of Amendments done under duress, and therefore illegal.
    (2) We need to have about 10 time tested Patriots who are educated and able governing the country. This will be a governing council instead of a single President. Do away with the Provincial system and have the District as the unit of governance. Bring back the educated and able SLAS to govern these units.
    (3) Language: Sinhala the main language with English as the main connecting language and reasonable use of Tamil.
    (4) Education: a job oriented Education mainly, a must.
    (5) Religion: Buddhism shall be protected by the government. Freedom to follow one’s own religion, without hindrance to others.
    (6) No forced conversions by law.
    (7) Pass a bill to make it illegal to speak of Separatism in any form either federal or confederal and to make it illegal to prevent anyone from living in any part of the island they wish to live.
    (8) If we are going to continue with the political party system make it illegal to form a party based on race, religion or language.

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    The EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY should never be abolished! I STRONGLY DISAGREE with Chanaka Bandarage’s PRIMARY ASSUMPTIONS!

    ON THE CONTRARY the EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY should be STRENGTHENED FURTHE!

    The EXECUTIVE PRIME MINISTERSHIP that brought the current DISASTER down upon our heads should INSTEAD be ABOLISHED!

    A ship should have ONE CAPTAIN to command and steer it; not TWO EGOISTIC EXECUTIVES who steer the ship in opposite directions bringing it to a DEAD HALT!

    No system of government can be PERFECT or DEVOID of flaws that make it IMMUNE to power grabs by ERRANT, even CORRUPT, leaders. The current situations in many WESTERN DEMOCRACIES like the USA, UK and France included, demonstrate that.

    But, what is WORSE than a STRONG but ERRING leadership is a WEAK DIVIDED GOVERNMENT that FOUNDERS at every turn, like the Parliamentary DEMOCRACY in Italy and now in Sri Lanka!

    Give me the EFFICIENT and DECISIVE Rajapaksa Government that brought us VICTORY and National Development at a RAPID PACE any day, rather than the Yamapalana CREW of ACCOMPLISHED CROOKS and PARA-GATHI TRAITORS who can’t keep ANYTHING AFLOAT, much less a STATE!

  12. Chanaka B Says:

    Aloy

    First, let’s separate personal issues with the matter at hand.

    Your statements about my citizenship and/or in which country I live are not relevant to this debate. Your guesses are wrong any way. The only thing I can say is that I am not going ‘kade’ to any politician or political party. Indeed, I go ‘kade’ to my motherland, Sri Lanka.

    In Australia parliamentary elections take place in every 3 years. PMs have changed in that country recently quite frequently. That was not due to a problem with the Constitution, but due to internal party politics. In internal party room meetings, they frequently dump their leader and appoint a new leader. That person automatically becomes the new PM. In Australia there is a problem with the Senate in getting Bills passed. Fortunately, we do not have a Senate here. In Australia, the Queen (British) is still the head of state. They continue to maintain this not because of their special love for her; they simply are scared to touch the Constitution. They know the moment it is touched, it will be like opening of the Pandora’s Box.

    Benevolent dictators like Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathier were good. But they were both Prime Ministers, not Executive Presidents.

    Unruliness – I agree. The point I am raising is that it is this unruliness that we must be scared of us and try to fix. If the position goes to an unruly President, it will be like giving monkey a razor blade.

    After winning the war, the Executive Presidents have done things contrary to national interests. This is should be our major worry.

    Even though we won the war, we have given away too much to separatists. There are lots of stupid decisions that the recent Presidents have made. I am sure they will continue to make them.

    Chelvanayagam’s policy is very much in work – ask a little now and ask more later”. And this is how they will create the Eelam.

    If we try to analyse Sri Lanka’s party politics here, sorry, it is a totally different topic.

    Cerberus

    Please see my answers given separately:

    (1) To survive in Sri Lanka, remove the 13-A & the 19-A, both sets of Amendments done under duress, and therefore illegal. Yes 13 A should go, not 19A.
    Under 18A, a President can contest any amount of time. This is not healthy.

    (2) We need to have about 10 time tested Patriots who are educated and able governing the country. This will be a governing council instead of a single President. Do away with the Provincial system and have the District as the unit of governance. Bring back the educated and able SLAS to govern these units.
    Nice idea only.

    (3) Language: Sinhala the main language with English as the main connecting language and reasonable use of Tamil. Impossible to do these now.

    (4) Education: a job oriented Education mainly, a must.
    Agree.

    (5) Religion: Buddhism shall be protected by the government. Freedom to follow one’s own religion, without hindrance to others.
    I do not think that Article 9 (prominence to Buddhism) will be touched by any government.

    (6) No forced conversions by law. Yes forced conversions should be made unlawful.

    (7) Pass a bill to make it illegal to speak of Separatism in any form either federal or confederal and to make it illegal to prevent anyone from living in any part of the island they wish to live.
    Parliamentarians give an oath something to similar – that they accept one Sri Lanka. But, we all know TNA does not care.

    (8) If we are going to continue with the political party system make it illegal to form a party based on race, religion or language.
    A big problem is that it is too easy to form a political party in Sri Lanka. Frivolous/racist party applications must be rejected by the Commissioner of Elections.

    Addition:

    I said “It is important to bear in mind that abolition of the Executive Presidency and amending the Constitution to grant more powers to the provinces (in realty to the north and the east) are two separate issues. The TNA is hell bent on asking for the latter – the Constitutional amendments. It is difficult to see how abolishment of the Executive Presidency would advance secession.”

    I am not sure whether or not TNA is supporting the JVP’s draft Bill as it currently stands.

    What TNA wants through Constitutional Reform is 13+. At least some of these:
    Land and Police powers (they already use the Land power, illegally though), merger of the north and the east, abolish or amend Article 9, reduce Governors’ powers, remove the Concurrent List, Establish a Constitutional Court (that is in some way superior to the Supreme Court), Absorb Grama Sevakas, Samurdhi Niladhari etc into the provincial government service, Provincial Courts, Extra Finance powers, possible Taxation and Foregin Affairs powers.

    By abolishing the Executive President, they will get none of this.

  13. aloy Says:

    Chanaka B,

    Personal information matters. In fact before I wrote the above comment I googled to see who you are and found that you are connected to some “Lawyers & Solicitors – Canberra”. Our governments are famous for employing various organizations from abroad for their propaganda. Perhaps this is one such things. I do not get any cent for writing here. In fact I nearly paid the price about two years ago while on board a flight coming home, though I am not such an important personality.
    Did you listen to what Sundiran publicly pronounced yesterday?. It is not about what you are telling here that they are trying to achieve by all this. It is simply the Eeelam that they fought unsuccessfully and all of you including the once patriotic JVP are now fighting for them. Perhaps for money.

  14. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    20th Amendment without repeal of 13A: A recipe for disaster

    Posted on December 29th, 2018

    Malinda Seneviratne

    ‘Stand Alone’ is a term that was used a lot during the discussion on the power of the president to dissolve parliament. The issue was whether the clause preventing dissolution until Parliament completes four and a half years supersedes the surreptitiously inserted clause permitting dissolution. That insertion was pernicious as was the entire 19th Amendment, clearly introduced for partisan purposes by the chief architects, meaning representatives of the United National Party and the Tamil National Alliance (Jayampathy Wickramaratne and M.A. Sumanthiran respectively). That the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) voted for it should be noted and seen as an example of political puerility.

    Well, that’s been resolved by the Supreme Court. At the end of the day, much heartache was caused to diehard UNPers thinly disguised as born-again democrats. They are cured now and the chances are that they will retire their democratic urges until the party’s political future is next threatened.

    There were positives. The notion of a ‘national government,’ in effect rather than in constitutional edict, was sorted out. The UNP plus the Sri Lanka Musilm Congress will not add up to ‘national government.’ So, although the ‘national government’ clause was inserted (against surreptitiously and against the grain of ‘good governance as well as rhetoric regarding cabinet size), the cabinet will be limited to 30. Secondly, the post of Leader of the Opposition went to the true Opposition instead of a staunch pro-government adjunct, the TNA, that is currently a tail wagging the dog as the adage goes.

    There’s a third positive. It’s a positive that might jog the memories of retired leftists who’ve found lucrative positions in the NGO industry, have long since forgotten class struggle, have no qualms about being quiet on capitalism and would love people to believe that the UNP is the vanguard of the democratic revolution. Simply, Maithripala Sirisena is the first President of the country to actually speak up against neoliberalism.

    His word? Well! But that’s a different matter. It’s a small positive, that’s it.

    The talk now is about the Executive Presidency. That’s where the ‘stand alone’ matter comes into play. People talk about the Executive Presidency as the Mother of All Anti-Democratic Evils.

    Make no mistake, there’s nothing angelic about the executive presidency. On the other hand, we need to remember that it is not the only evil around. And, as evil goes, it has its redeeming features, especially with respect to what I consider the most pernicious piece of legislation to follow J.R. Jayewardene’s constitutional tinkering exercise, i.e. the 13th Amendment.

    The people of this country were conspicuously absent(ed) in that process. It was thrust down our throats to resolve a mis-defined ‘conflict’ and (partially, according to some, including the aggrieved) exaggerated grievances. And today, ladies and gentlemen (especially those chest-beating ‘democrats’ who came out of the woodworks recently), no one seems to really care about Provincial Councils. Six PCs are effectively non-functional. The terms of three more will expire in a few months. Not even the TNA, a party that wants more than what the 13th gave by way of devolution, doesn’t appear to mind the current state of affairs. As for the people, they have not uttered one word of concern.

    That said, the 13th is still a part of the Constitution. This is where the 20th Amendment (which proposes to abolish the Executive Presidency) comes into play. The executive president is a key part of the 13th Amendment because it carries the safeguards against moves by provinces to break away.

    Any move to abolish the executive presidency that does not at the same time address the impact of such an amendment to the operationalizing of the 13th is erroneous and irresponsible. Patali Champika Ranawaka’s party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya has consistently reminded lawmakers and others of this danger. What Ranawaka has to say now will indicate to what extent the party (and of course he himself) has dissolved its ideology for political profit.

    A related issue is the fact that it would be a travesty of justice if these 225 Members of Parliament touch this constitution. Sure, that’s part of the Job Description as per the constitution, but they’ve demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that they are absolutely incompetent.

    Only one member, Sarath Weerasekera, objected to the 19th Amendment, let us not forget, and that is as mentioned above a piece of garbage.

    Moreover they had the opportunity to do away with the executive presidency (Note: Sirisena’s manifesto mentioned ‘change’ and not ‘abolish’). They didn’t. Events proved that the 19th, as far as pruning presidential powers, was eyewash. The checks introduced, namely the independent institutions, constituted a monumental joke considering the composition of the Constitutional Council (politician-heavy, federalist-heavy) and in terms of the appointments they oversaw (bypassing seniority in appointing judges for example).

    Today, after being stumped by the hero-turned-zero Sirisena, those who used him and turned a blind eye to his many faults, want to bulldoze his office. That’s what it boils down to. And that’s exactly the wrong reason to engage in constitutional reform. You don’t do things just because you like the immediate beneficiary or because it helps you checkmate with a political opponent.

    That’s the logic that has prevailed in the 40 years that passed after the Second Republican Constitution was instituted. Apart from the 17th, it was all about political expedience (leaving out the 13th because it was extracted from a weak UNP President who, like his successors didn’t have faith in the citizens of this country) and not about the larger interests of the nation.

    This parliament has outlived it’s usefulness on account of incompetence, subterfuge and downright disrespect for the people. They’ve prostituted the word ‘democracy’ enough. They are not to be trusted. Today, the movers and shakers in Parliament are essentially the Jathana Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the TNA, the former a shameless lackey of the UNP and the latter operating as though the UNP is its lackey. Both parties have terrorist pasts: the JVP in 1971 and in 1988//89 and the TNA as the mouthpiece of the LTTE. They are batting here with the UNP, which while in power unleashed terror and ‘disappeared’ some 60,000 Thajudeens, Ekneligodas and Lasanthas. The SLFP has it’s own violent history (1971). All these parties have shamed themselves to the point that they really don’t deserve the right to use the word ‘democracy’.

    Ideally, the people should have the opportunity to state their opinion of this lot in a General Election. This side of such an eventuality, it is appropriate to point out the danger of constitutional tinkering by this Parliament. The 20th, as proposed, is a mischievous and dangerous document which can only make sense if the 13th Amendment is repealed simultaneously.

    The UNP, fighting shy of holding even PC elections, ought to salivate at the prospect of not having to face the people before a General or Presidential Election, but this is not about the political tastes of a particular party. It is about sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is also about the blood and lost body parts of all those who fought against separatist terrorists. That memory must also be factored in.

    If true representational democracy, territorial integrity and sovereignty are babies, then you can make a case for calling the executive presidency ‘bathwater’ but let’s not forget that the baby will be at risk of all kinds of infections if you throw THAT bathwater out whilst keeping the toilet wash that is the 13th Amendment.

    [email protected]. http://www.malindawords.blogspot.com

  15. Chanaka B Says:

    Aloy

    You are entitled to make your own assumptions and guesses. I refute your accusations.

    NM Yodhaya

    I have emphasised in the article that with 20th Amendment, the 13th Amendment should be repealed. I have shown that political parties aren’t interested in it.

    Yesterday, Army released details of land releases thus far.

    Thanks to our Executive Presidents the acreage held by the Army in the north and the east has been reduced from 84,523 to 14,769 – a reduction of 83%!.

    The communique further states that such a reduction is not a threat to national security.

  16. Christie Says:

    1.The problem is the power of the minority Indian Colonial Parasite’s block vote.

    2. The only way to overcome this is the unity among the Sinhalese.

    3. If the Sinhalese are united like in 1948-56 and 2005-2015 Sinhalese will prosper and the country will prosper.

    Let us unite and stand up to India and Indian Colonial Parasites.

  17. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Chanaka. Excellent article.

    Obviously Chanaka being a lawyer knows the Constitutional Law which is the main thing about executive presidency, its usefulness and uselessness. Strangely most people that support EP in Sri Lankan context have no idea about Constitutional Law.

    Accepting Geeth’s challenge I will write about the dangers of EP.

    Abolishing EP and 20A should not be mixed up. EP must be abolished. 20A has other matters unrelated.

    In 2015, 60% of Sinhala voters rejected Sirisena. But he won the presidential election easily – far easier than Premadasa and Mahinda. Thanks to 85% of minorities supporting him. What type of a nonsensical system it is where the reject of a majority of the majority can become the most powerful person in the country! It is a mockery of democracy.

    Chanaka is also correct in saying – thanks to our Executive Presidents the acreage held by the Army in the north and the east has been reduced from 84,523 to 14,769 – a reduction of 83%!.

    Interestingly, some key military bases like Trincomalee, Palali, Elephant Pass, etc. were set up before EP times. Otherwise these would never have become a reality. Craving for votes, Mahinda and Sirisena gave away most of military owned land.

    What goes without saying is how the two biggest military disasters of this country came about thanks to EP. 1996 Mulaitivu attack could not be appropriately repulsed as the EP and her cousin refrained from giving orders. Such things would never happen in a parliamentary system. At the 1999 presidential election, Tamil people in the north demanded they get crab fishing rights near the EP camp where salt water purification installations were installed. Due to election pressure it was allowed in December 1999. Within months LTTE exploited it and destroyed the two installations causing dangerous dehydration among soldiers in the EP camp. Over 1,300 dies and over 5,000 were seriously affected. The historic camp was gone.

    Mahinda released most land in former HSZs in the north targeting the 2013 NPC election and then the 2015 presidential election. He still lost. Sirisena out of gratefulness to Tamils continues.

  18. Chanaka B Says:

    Thanks Dilrook.

    Though I am not sure, the 14,769 acres of land that the Army currently has, I believe most of them are in Sinhala settlement areas of the north and the east. When I visited Vavuniya, Bogaswewa, Nandimithragama, Helambawewa, Welioya, Janakapura areas last (about 6 months ago) for community development work, those camp areas were intact. I am worried that it is the camp lands located exclusively in Tamil areas that have been released. I read in a paper that Thirukkovil Army camp is to be converted to a public playground. I do not know the truthfulness of this story.

    I could remember TNA MPs, with people, making protests in front of Army camps, and Sambandhan last year or so walked into Kilinochchi camp without notice. These were acts of duress. In other countries such people are prosecuted under the laws of sedition.

    Once these lands are gone, they are gone forever. If a conflict start again, the Army will have no land to expand or set up new camps. We are confined to what we have.

    Are we going to release further land, if TNA exerts more pressure?

    I know the TNA has asked the central government to alienate all crown lands in the north and the south (this includes jungle, forest and reserve lands) and hand them to the control of the two provincial governments.

    They are now asking the President to release all Tamil political prisoners held in custody. In actual fact, they are not ‘political prisoners’ but hardcore terrorists (allegedly). People who set up bombs in aero planes, commuter trains, public buses are currently incarcerated.

    Then, they want the Prevention of Terrorism Act to be repealed.

    As I emphasised in the article, so many unhealthy acts have happened under the Executive Presidents since winning the war. Even before that, the Presidencies of JRJ, Chandrika were failures.

  19. Chanaka B Says:

    “I know the TNA has asked the central government to alienate all crown lands in the north and the south”

    Sorry, it should be east not south.

  20. Dilrook Says:

    @Chanaka

    True.

    With a very high population growth rate among Tamils and Muslims, their clout at presidential elections will be even higher in 2019.

    If war breaks out again, our army will be without basing. Transporting a large number of troops exposes them to ambush and destruction of transportation systems which the LTTE was good at. Sirisena won with TNA support so he must entertain TNA. Mahinda also appeased TNA as much as he could particularly the more aggressive Vigneswaran faction fearing the loss of Tamil votes.

  21. Dilrook Says:

    @Neela

    [Quote] TULF has 16 Seats for the total votes 515,963 which is only the 4.62%of the total votes [Unquote]

    TNA is not part of the Cabinet. If not for EP, the Cabinet assumes executive powers. TNA and JVP are not part of it so they cannot have executive powers.

    Pro-TNA Sirisena won 85% of the Tamil vote which means about 9.25% of the SL Tamil vote (nationally) whereas at a parliamentary election, TNA could only get half of that (4.62%). It proves the point that parliamentary elections reduce their power in comparison to a presidential election where they are the kingmakers.

    Indian imposed and LTTE drafted 13A reduced only parliament’s power. It didn’t reduce president’s power. Why? Obviously India and LTTE knew the president can be manipulated easily by their block vote. Anyway the president too doesn’t have any power over provincial councils. The president can dissolve a PC and appoint a governor. Both these are useless in relation to NPC during peace time. Fresh elections must be held and TNA will win even higher if it does what Perumal did.

  22. Chanaka B Says:

    Unlike now, when we have a cabinet presided over by a Prime Minister, it will be difficult for that cabinet to give in to minority demands. For example, this type of land release, the Prime Minister would not be able to do them willy nilly, of his/her own free will. They have to be put to the cabinet formally by way of a paper. The cabinet will discuss extensively. Always, the majority in the cabinet will be Sinhalese; so they will oppose them if unfair or discriminatory.

    Also, after the cabinet meeting the media has to be briefed. So, it will be difficult to do things secretly.

    But, now owing to the President’s huge powers say, while overseas he/she can over the telephone order the release or land/ release of dangerous prisoners etc; and no one in the country would know, including the media In some instances, the President can make orders that will have huge effects on all of us by way of issuing a simple gazette notification.

    While everyone is in the dark, a President if he/she wants could do much worse things to the country, even un imaginery things.

    Some believe it is only through the Executive Presidency that the Sinahala rights could be preserved and that the division of the nation could be prevented. Sadly past experience tell us a different story. And past experience is the best measurement to make pronouncements about the future.

    Put simply, It will be easier for the minority to get unfair things done through an Executive President than an executive Prime Minister.

    In any case as you have correctly pointed out that in the future without minority support no person could win a Presidency. 2015 election is the best example. And I cannot see why this trend will not continue. As you have correctly pointed out the minority numbers are increasing rapidly, at a much faster pace than the Sinhalese.

  23. Chanaka B Says:

    To win a Presidency the minority vote is the key.

    A Presidnet would know that to win on the 2nd time he/she will have to fulfill the secret promises made to the minorities on the 1st time. This is why the Presidents have failed us miserably. This is why I say although we have won the war, we are fast losing the north and the east. And, that is 1/3 of our land.

  24. Dilrook Says:

    Even now you don’t need minority votes to win a majority in parliament. Thereafter CWC, SLMC and ACMC join the largest party. You don’t have to pander into TNA demands and those minority parties that join as a parliamentary group can be controlled with ministries and security.

    It is the presidential election that turns minorities including TNA into kingmakers.

    TNA has a stake in the executive president like Sirisena but no stake whatsoever even in this Cabinet (worst ever).

  25. Chanaka B Says:

    Sorry, I want to correct the following statement made in my previous comment:

    “This is why I say although we have won the war, we are fast losing the north and the east. ….”

    It should read as

    “This is why I say although we have won the war, we have lost the north and the east. …….”

  26. Chanaka B Says:

    Dilrook, you are correct in saying –

    “It is the presidential election that turns minorities including TNA into kingmakers.”

    TNA secretly goes and meet the Presidents. The current President stated that during the recent 51 day episode what they asked from him was the further release of lands and release of Tamil ‘political prisoners’ (terrorists in custody).

    But, we should not forget that they try to be the kingmakers in the parliament too.

    One TNA MP joined the 51 day government and the reason given by him was that he thought that that government would heed to his special demands. After the 51 day episode, TNA tried to join or offer support to the present government only on the basis that their (unfair) demands are accepted; that’s why the present government is trying to buy off the SLFP MPs. So, they try to be kingmakers in the parliament but as stated by you they have less clout in the parliament (only 16 MPs). Because JVP wants to stay independent, TNA knows they are the only kingmakers. I think if it comes to a crunch JVP should support a Sinhalese government. JVP should not allow TNA to take the country into ransom.

    And my point is that even if TNA joins a government, they should not be able to dominate the cabinet because majority in the cabinet are Sinhalese and Muslims, who would never succumb to unfair TNA demands. But with the Executive Presidnet, it is so easy for the TNA to make secret deals with him/her.

    That is what they have been doing for the past 40 years so successfully. Thondaman (Senior) had pacts with JRJ. That is why there are so many upcountry Tamil MPs now. In 1977 it was only Thondaman, also as the 2nd or 3rd MP of Nuwara Eliya Maskeliya. This is why our Army acreage has dropped by 83%.

    The worst case scenario is if TNA after joining a government leaves it. Then as I stated before, the government should try to buy off MPs from the opposition, invite JVP to join the government or call a general election. By this way, within the parliament we could restrict TNA’s dominant power. But when there is an Executive President we simply do not know what the two parties would be up to. We would only know after a terrible act had been committed.

    Note how JRJ signed the Indo-Lanka pact after placing the whole country under curfew. Do we need such an Executive Presidency? JRJ enacted the 13th Amendment (his legacy to us), the country is hemorrhaging daily as a result.

    (We should not forget that when Sambandhan was the Leader of the Opposition he seldom spoke about the country at large, but only about Tamil ‘problems’).

  27. Dilrook Says:

    Sambandhan became the Opposition Leader because he supported Sirisena at the presidential election.

  28. Randeniyage Says:

    ALL Thirupathy worshipers and JVPeers cannot be trusted when it comes to bringing Sri Lanka under one flag.
    Whoever promises to get rid of Palaath Sabha nonsense should be fully supported rejecting the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian multi-faith Thisrupathy and Vatican worshipers. They are all actors, going to temple everyday to show people they are Buddhists yet abusing most of the 5 precepts daily basis.

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