How 19A Booby Trapped Sirisena and Caught Him Unawares
Posted on February 20th, 2018

Dilrook Kannangara

For the second time in two months the president has asked the Supreme Court to interpret the 19A he passed using his power over the UNP and the UPFA. He doesn’t know what he passed! He comes to realise the hard way that his Prime Minister has taken him for a ride. By the time he comes to know about them, he has lost the two thirds and cannot fix it. The president has made himself a fool and painted himself into the naughty corner.

First Trap – Five Years

Sirisena was of the view he had a six (6) year term since he was elected with the mandate to govern for six (6) years. But that’s not what 19A stated. He came to know 3 (three) years into his rule that his tenure is only 5 (five) years. That messed up his plans seriously.

Second Trap – Prime Minister is Difficult to Remove

Sirisena was fooled again on the removal of the Prime Minister. He assumed 19A didn’t take away the president’s ability to remove the Prime Minister anytime. But he may be wrong; partly or completely. Now he has consulted the Supreme Court again. Ranil and his UNP fooled Sirisena again.

Sirisena has only 29 years of experience in national politics. Ranil has over 41 years’ experience in national politics. Mahinda has 36 years’ political experience at the national level. Chandrika has only 11 years’ experience at the national level.

The impact of the last Supreme Court interpretation and the upcoming interpretation have profound impact on Sirisena’s future and that of the nation. The parliament cannot be dissolved until February 16, 2020 but the presidential election must be held by November 8, 2019. In other words, the parliament will outlive the president. The parliament with a clear UNP and TNA combined majority will oversee the next presidential election. What’s worse is, November 2019 will be a budget month when the president depends on parliament to pass the budget. For the record, the president cannot pass the budget. This is when UNP will exert its influence.

If Sirisena thought surprises hidden in 19A end there, he is wrong. It gets worse!

Third Trap – Prime Minister Takes It

Before 19A, the president could change the Prime Minister anytime. It could be done even without notifying the parliament, the public or the Prime Minister as there is no such obligation on the President! It was possible under the law to change the Prime Minister by appointing another but keep the appointment secret. Nothing in the Constitution stopped this approach. For instance, faced with a hostile UNP Cabinet of ministers and a UNP Prime Minister, nothing prevented President Kumaratunga in 2002-2004 to appoint another as Prime Minister replacing Ranil but keep the appointment secret. Why this is important will be evident soon.

However, this cannot be done after 19A.

If the president dies in office, the Prime Minister was to assume that office before 19A. If the President had replaced the Prime Minister but kept the matter secret, the new Prime Minister could claim to be the real Prime Minister and succeed to the post of the President. For instance, if President Chandrika died (as a result of the UNP-LTTE CFA in 2002 or otherwise), her secret Prime Ministerial appointment could claim the Prime Minister post and succeed to the post of President. This allowance was kept by the makers of the Constitution for good reasons in a country three leaders died in office and another narrowly escaped!

Under 19A, any parliamentarian with most support can succeed the President if the post of President becomes suddenly vacant. That means Ranil becomes president if Sirisena ceased to function as President. The previous allowance that provided an indirect safeguard is no more!

Look at in the context of Ranil. He was nobody until 1993 but suddenly became the Prime Minister thanks to the killings of President Premadasa and Lalith Athulathmudali (the next in line for party leadership in the absence of the incumbent). However, Ranil’s leadership was again challenged for a few months a year later. Gamini Dissanaike was also killed by Tamil terrorists cementing Ranil’s unchallenged leadership within the UNP. Since then no one dared to challenge him. A few patriotic UNP leaders – General Janaka Perera and General Lucky Algama were also killed by Tamil terrorists. Surely, there is nothing to say Ranil had anything to do with these but Ranil was exceptionally lucky as his superiors and potential superiors fell like flies. If his luck continues, he has a clearly paved path to Presidency after 19A.

Fourth Trap – Reconciliation

Another Constitutional trap laid for Sirisena (yet unknown to him) under 19A is reconciliation. 19A introduced reconciliation as a duty of the president! Having won 85% of minority votes in January 2015, Sirisena was elated when 19A was passed and he didn’t question this change. However, by now Sirisena has lost almost all minority votes. In other words, Sirisena has failed in his duty to ensure reconciliation. This can be converted to Sirisena’s violation of the Constitution spearheaded by minority parties. They all support the UNP in parliamentary elections. On the other hand, if Sirisena upholds reconciliation, he loses Sinhala votes.

Fifth Trap – National Government

Another Constitution trap yet unknown to Sirisena is the national government gimmick. As per 19A the two parties elected in 2015 with the largest number of MPs may form a national government. What if Sirisena loses control of the largest SLFP faction in parliament? They can bypass Sirisena’s authority and form a national government with the UNP. A hapless Sirisena can only hope it doesn’t happen. If it happens heading to the November 2018 budget, it will spell disaster for Sirisena. As 2019 is an election year for Sirisena, he will ensure the next budget (in 8 months) has election goodies and sweeteners. But UNP can deny this by forming a majority without Sirisena’s blessing. There is nothing Sirisena can do.

Sirisena Taken for a Ride

Altogether there are five (5) Constitutional traps UNP laid for President Sirisena in the 19A. Sirisena is only aware of 1 (one) so far. Soon he will come to know another. Even then, there are three (3) more he will not come to know for some time. His own Prime Minister and his own party have undermined him. Sirisena had good PR consultants and political consultants but his legal consultants failed him this time. Ranil copied his uncle’s constitutional expertise to frame Sirisena. JR’s opponents knew what they were getting into but Sirisena is still unaware of the full scale of the trap.

However, he has one avenue to turn tables on them. That is to punish bond scam, FCID, CIABOC and PRECIFAC identified felons. He has about one year to confine them far away from politics and they will not pose any threat. The rest will be stunned into silence. Has he got the courage and foresight to do so?

UNP constitutional experts didn’t forget Rajapaksas in 19A. Two term restriction was reintroduced, minimum age to contest for presidency was raised to 30 (preventing Mahinda’s sons from contesting in 2019) and restrictions on foreign citizens to contest parliamentary election.

19 Responses to “How 19A Booby Trapped Sirisena and Caught Him Unawares”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    රනිල් ඉවත් කරනවා.. අලූත් සන්ධාන ආණ්ඩුවේ සාකච්චා සාර්ථකයි..- සුසිල්

    රනිල් වික‍්‍රමසිංහ මහතා අගමැති ධුරයෙන් ඉවත් කර නව අගමැතිවරයෙකු යටතේ එක්සත් ජනතා නිදහස් සන්ධාන ආන්ඩුවක් ගොඩනැගීමට තව දුරටත් උත්සාහ දරමින් සිටින බව ඇමති සුසිල් ප්‍රේමජයන්ත් මහතා පවසයි.

    මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් ශ‍්‍රීලනිප මැති ඇමතිවරුන් ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රිපාල සිරිසේන මහතා සමග සාකච්ඡා කළ බවද පවසන ඇමතිවරයා ජාතික ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉවත්වීමත්, නව අගමැතිවරයෙකු පත් කිරීම ගැනත් ජනාධිපතිවරයා විසින් ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණයේ මතය විමසා ඇති බවත් එම තීරණය කඩිනමින් ලැබෙන තෙක් බලා සිටින බවත් ඔහු කියයි.

    නව අගමැතිවරයෙකු සමග ආණ්ඩුව පිහිටුවීමට අදාළ සාකච්ඡා තව දුරටත් පවත්වන බවත් එම සාකච්ඡාවල සාර්ථකත්වයක් ඇති බවත් ඇමති සුසිල් වැඩි දුරටත් කියා සිටී.

  2. Sarath W Says:

    Susil can say things just to please the JO as he is trying to jump from the sinking ship. But My3 is trapped because he made a dirty deal with Ranil, Chandrika and Mangala on behalf of the RAW, Tamil Diaspora and the NGOs to be the president. My3 is trying to show he is against Ranil, but his hands are tied. If he is honest about getting rid of Ranil, he has to only speed up action against the Mega Bond thieves. Then the master mind Ranil will end up in jail. UNP will be destroyed.

  3. Charles Says:

    Sirisena knows what he is doing. He does not want a SLFP Government without Ranil as the Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

    He knows that he is nothing without Ranil and Ranil knows that he is nothing without Sirisena. They will stick together and Sirisena will do his best to make Ranil the UNP Presidential Candidate in 2020. Both Sirisena and Ranil have one enemy who they want to keep out of politics and that is Mahinda Rajapakse. Therefore Sirisena and Ranil are are bound together like Siamese Twins to keep away their common enemy Mahinda Rajapakse.

    All Sirisena is doing today asking the opinion of SC to dismiss the PM and talk about a new Cabinet are all to fool his SLFP block-heads arround him. Sirisena will, do nothing without getting Ranil’s opinion and the Ambassadors of USA and India will be an added support for the “Sirisena-Ranil marriage”, to continue

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    I agree with Charles; Sirisena is no longer a Sinhala Buddhist who cares about his community.


    Sirisena DOES NOT NEED SC advice.

    He DID NOT SEEK SC ADVICE in 2015, when he dismissed a SITTING PM of his own party and gave the post to Ranil supported by only 46MPs.

    He DID NOT SEEK SC ADVICE when he appointed Sampanthan of the TNA with only 16MPs the role of LEADER of the OPPOSITION in 2015.

    He DID NOT SEEK SC ADVICE when he MEEKLY accepted aforeigner as the Head of the CENTRAL BANK of Sri Lanka.

    He DID NOT SEEK SC ADVICE when he EJECTED the sitting Chief Justice of the SC unceremoniously.

    Yet, Sirisena SEEKS SC ADVICE when 4 or MORE avenues to EJECTING Ranil as the PRIME MINISTER are available in the Constitution in the PRESENT SITUATION and MANY LEGAL LUMANARIES have POINTED THEM OUT TO HIM!

    NO! Sirisena is PLAYING A GAME with his OWN Party members of the SLFP and the UPFA, MISLEADING them!

  5. L Perera Says:

    Agree with Charles, the Prez is beyond his depth and the PM is the wind beneath his wings. This fragile relationship is taking both nowhere and sooner or later, will end . In the interim the dream of economic prosperity and the elimination of poverty for many, moves further away. The present situation is the result of the choice the voters made 1915. They killed the two party system, that in turn bred un precedent corruption at the executive level. etc etc .

  6. ranjit Says:

    The following lost their seats in last LG polls as per Divaina and in my opinion this will be their last, and they will never win an election hereafter and same results will be for Gramasevaka Sirisena as he let down everybody including the SLFP party.
    1. Duminda dissanayaka-Kalawewa
    2. Mahinda amaraweera – Thangalla
    3. Sushil premjayantha – kaduwela
    4. S.B – Hewaheta
    5. WDJ Senevi- Ratnapura
    6. Dayasiri-pandwasnuwara
    7. P.Yapa – Katugampola
    8. Mahinda Samarasingha-Panadura
    9. Soysa – Bibile
    10. Lakshman yapa – Hakmana
    11. Dilan perera – Haliela
    12. Mangalaya- Matara
    13. Sagala – Deniyaya
    14. Gayantha Karu – Bentara
    15. Sajith – Tissa
    16. Ponnaseka – Kelaniya
    17. Kiriella- Senkadagala
    18. Rajithaya – Beruwela
    19. Harrison – Anuradhapura
    20. Thalatha- Nivithigala
    21. Iran Wickremeratne- Moratuwa
    22. Harsha de Silva
    23. Sujeewa
    24. Ruwan wijewardena – biyagama
    Plus hela urumaya 60 out of 65 candidates have been lost. What a disgrace. They should have resigned immediately. This Yamapalanaya do not have any shame. They are all handled by Satan and the Indian parasites. Sirisena is the worst traitor to Sinhala buddhist population and to the Motherland. He should be the first to resign because this is the first time a sitting president lost an election so badly. He should be ashamed to be there after he became 4th in the race. They both should take an example from the other world leaders who leave power even only for a small matter. Example England prime minister. Nepal prime minister, South African President etc. What is the lesson these lunatics can give to our next generation nothing. This ruling lot is the dirtiest, spineless habitual lot we have ever send to the parliament in history. Sinhala buddhist population must get united to send these uneducated traitors to hell before they sell our country and bring more misery to our people. Time is running out therefore we should act immediately.

  7. SenaD Says:

    I too agree with you. That is why I say MS was and still is play acting. I believe that he does not have the capacity to think through the issues involved. Additionally, now he does not have complete freedom to do as he wants as Dilrook has detailed.

    They have chosen the ideal ‘common candidate’ for their purpose. According to his own words he had been in the plot for more than a year biding his time until his bid for the presidential election was announced. That shows his character and there is the possibility of MS going against RW.

    He might act against RW, only if he himself is threatened. He could use the bond scam investigation to neutralise RW if he wants to, but he may be genuinely worried about an impeachment threat if he were to follow such a path.

  8. Dilrook Says:

    Sirisena was seriously caught off guard by the UNP. His antics are to cover up his weak position.

    His even more ridiculous decision is to appoint UNP strongman Austin Fernando as his presidential secretary. It is unthinkably idiotic. Though he is not as corrupt as Lalith Weeratunga (proven by a court) he is a well known UNPer. If Sirisena is wondering how UNP comes to know his office’s internal matters, he should know better.

    Ranil has proven he is the nephew of JR (once called the ‘fox’ for his expertise in manipulating the constitution).

  9. SA Kumar Says:


    My Sinhela sakodarayas you still thing mother Lankas ruled by us sorry since 2015 sold to western world & India.

    We need Our one & only Thesiya thalaivar Velu now ???

  10. NAK Says:

    I think Sirisena really wanted to dump Ranil and got the necessary 120 seats but prince Kashyap threw the spaaner in the works. Sirisena is shit scared of this yankee and would not move an inch against his wishes.
    That is the strength Ranil has and that is what he exhibited in the press outing claiming he is the PM..

  11. charithsls Says:

    On one hand one is foolish to think MS & Ranil are fighting each other; part of the drama to hoodwink the gullible voters. Referring to the Courts too part of it. Both Ranil & MS knew the outcome beforehand. Nothing different will happen, this coalition will drag on. The Indian ambassador met both before he left to India reminding them to stick to the line. On the other hand probably following the shock results SLFP wanted to oust Ranil but the objection from the group that includes Duminda,Samarasinghe Soysa etc who know they have no future under MR pulled the plug because unless all in the SLFP vote together you can’t get the numbers to oust Ranil. Had they agreed MS might have ousted Ranil but MS had to give in for the simple reason the JO cannot show a majority even combined with the SLFP minus Duminda group. So it shows it is the Duminda group who is responsible for the continuation of this Govt.

  12. SenaD Says:

    MS’s lack of confidence was seen in the way he responded to events.

    His sense of gratitude to the people who selected him as the common candidate for the PE in 2015 and got him elected as the EP coupled with limitations in his own abilities seem to predicate his actions.

    Even then, he is likely to go against RW when he eventually realises that it is the only way out for him. On the other hand, if it became too late for that he might bow out saying “that is what I promised in 2015”.

  13. Charles Says:

    I wonder whether Paskaralingam who i said to have passed Government secret to Prabhakaran is still working with Ranil Wickramasinhe ?

  14. Dilrook Says:

    Cabinet size is yet another trap 19A created this time on the Cabinet.

    19A restricted the Cabinet of ministers to 30. But if a “national government” was created, it can have any number of ministers!

    In other words, a normal future government (as we had from 1947 to 2015) will face a severe dilemma as it has to manage with only 30 ministers. It will be an unstable government. Also a UPFA-JO government will have only 30 ministers as it is not a national government. It cannot last! Most MPs want a ministry to remain part of the government.

    UNP lawyers have done some clever work behind the scenes to destroy the prospects of Sirisena and Rajapaksas. This type of mechanisms are like the dead man’s brake. Essentially, no government can survive until 2020 without the support of the UNP. Funny thing is all present MPs (mostly JO MPs) except only 1 voted for this!

  15. Christie Says:

    We are an Indian colony run by India and Indian Parasites .

  16. Lorenzo Says:

    UNP doesn’t have anyone to THINK. Probably an Endian did this to DESTABILIZE SL.

    Anyway I’m glad MR cannot be president again. It is GR’s turn in 2019. GR in 2024 and someone else in 2029. Who knows it may be BATHURDEEN’s nephew or HackHim’s someone.

  17. Leela Says:

    You amuse me Lorenzo. To be honest, your last sentence no joke.

  18. Charles Says:

    Just ignore Lorenzo, he give a pain in the …… JO is unfortunately slow to act. Pass a no confidence motion against Yahapalanaya and move to amend the 19Amendment which they helped to pass.

  19. Fran Diaz Says:

    Agree with Charles that : “ JO is unfortunately slow to act. Pass a No Confidence motion against Yahapalanaya and move to amend the 19-A which they helped pass”.


    Sri Lanka is presently cornered by foreign countries acting in ‘rapist style’ ?
    Do they have bigger fish to fry using the ongoing Lanka fray ?
    INDIA was an earlier colonised country.

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