The controversial 20th Amendment to the Constitution – with amendments to the original draft – was passed at the second reading with a two thirds majority in Parliament on October 22nd 2020.. One hundred and fifty six MP’s voted in favor while sixty -five voted against.
The 20th Amendment will restore full-fledged executive powers to the executive presidency while diminishing the powers of the Prime Minister and De-valuing Parliament.
It will reverse the progress made by the previous 19th amendment to the Constitution.
There are currently Two hundred and twenty three parliamentarians including the Speaker.Two national list MP’ sears remain vacant.
Former President Maithripala Sirisena was not present in the House when the vote was taken
Eight opposition MPs supported of the 20th Amendment at the second reading vote in Parliament.
The eight opposition MP’s who voted along with the Govt for the 20th amendment are Samagiya Jana Balavegaya (SJB) National List MP Diana Gamage, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress MP’s Nazeer Ahamed , (Batticaloa)Faizal Cassim(Amparai), H.M. M.Harees(Amparai), M.S. Thowfeek(Trincomalee), Muslim National Alliance MP A. A.S.M. Raheem(Puttalam), Tamil Progressive Alliance MP Arvind Kumar(Badulla) and All Ceylon Makkal Congress MP Ishak Rahman(Anuradhapura) .
Meanwhile several “dissidents” within Govt folds who had threatened not to vote for the 20th amendment earlier due to clauses enabling dual citizens to contest Parliamentary polls changed their minds after an “emotional”appeal made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a late night meeting.
SLPP national list MP Prof. Tissa Vitharana said President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had promised them that their concerns would be accommodated int he new Constitution that would be adopted within one year.Addressing a press briefing in Colombo, Vitharana said the drafting of the new constitution would begin in November, this year.
Addressing the same press conference, Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara said the new constitution would bar dual citizens from functioning as parliamentarians.”Therefore, we will support the dual citizenship clause in the 20th Amendment to the Constitution,” he added.
(Compiled from media reports in newspapers and web sites)