UNF decides to limit Executive Presidency powers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 August 2002, 11:42 GMT]
The United National Front government has decided to bring in amendments to the 1978 Constitution to limit the discretionary powers of the Executive Presidency to dissolve parliament and measures to allow parliamentarians to vote according to their conscience, Constitutional Affairs Minister and Cabinet spokesman Mr. G.L.Peiris said Thursday.

"Necessary constitutional amendments in this regard will be tabled in parliament during the month of September this year," Mr. G.L.Peiris said Thursday.

"The government is confident of two third majority needed to pass these amendments in parliament. Already government has had discussion with parliamentarians of all political parties represented in parliament. These talks had been successful. Several parliamentarians have given clear pledges to extend their support to the proposed constitutional amendments," said Minister Peiris addressing a press briefing.

President Chandrika Kumaratunge has, however, informed the UNF government through her media spokesman that she will not agree for piece meal amendments to the existing constitution. Instead she would agree for a revision of abolishing the Executive Presidency.

Regarding the question of dissolving the parliament Article 70 of the 1978 Constitution states as follows: -

70 (1) The President may from time to time by Proclamation summon, prorogue and dissolve parliament: Provided that-

a) subject to the provisions of sub paragraph (d), when e General Election has been held consequent upon a dissolution of Parliament by the President, the President shall not thereafter dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period of one year from the date of such General Election, unless Parliament by resolution requests the President to dissolve Parliament.


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