By Chandani Kirinde
All parties are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this evening to finalise the draft of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution. The meeting comes amidst differing views on a draft Bill which was given to party leaders on Monday with the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) saying the Bill falls short of the people’s expectations of curbing Executive power.
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday wrote to Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe saying that the draft Bill made available to them, instead of reducing the power of the Executive President does the opposite by strengthening the Executive powers contrary to the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
He noted that contrary to the promises given by the President, the draft given by the Justice Minister enables the President to hold Ministerial portfolios, which was not envisaged in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella told reporters at a press briefing that donor agencies such as World Bank, USAID and IMF will not help Sri Lanka if proper political reforms are not implemented. “Donor agencies have already stressed the need for proper reforms and these should be fulfilled if Sri Lanka is to come out of the present crises,” he said.
Meanwhile representatives of the 10-party alliance led by MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila met the Prime Minister last evening to discuss the proposed Constitutional Amendment.
Weerawansa told reporters after the meeting that they have proposed some amendments to the draft given to them and expect those provisions to be included in the Bill.