Cabinet approves 19th constitutional amendment

[TamilNet, Friday, 30 August 2002, 13:24 GMT]
The United National Front (UNF) government said Friday that it will gazette the nineteenth amendment to the constitution restricting powers to the Executive President to dissolve parliament, on September 3 Tuesday. “The cabinet has approved the proposed amendment and it will be tabled in parliament on September 11. The President can make any statement regarding the constitutional amendment on or before September 3,” said Constitutional Affairs Minister and government media spokesman Mr. G.L.Peiris Friday at a press briefing held at the Department of Information.

President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge did not preside over the cabinet meeting held Wednesday. She returned home Friday morning after a private visit to London last week.

Minister Peiris said,”the proposed nineteenth constitutional amendment restricts Presidential powers in dissolving parliament as long as it has the confidence of majority members. The amendment further guarantees the parliamentary seats of the members who vote in favour of it.”

Earlier President Chandrika had asked the UNF leaders not to take any decision regarding the proposed amendment to the constitution removing her some powers without her presence at the cabinet meeting.

“It would be a failure to carry out the responsibility of the cabinet if it followed President’s instruction that any matters related to constitutional amendments should not be taken up for discussion without her presence,” Minister Peiris told media persons.

The eighteenth amendment to the constitution was passed in parliament recently to empower the Constitutional Council that has been appointed under the 17th constitutional amendment to constitute independent commissions for elections, judiciary, public service and police. Hence the proposed constitutional amendment to restrict Presidential powers is considered as the 19th one.


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