Make the objective of 21st Amendment a reality — PAFFREL urges Sri Lanka president
His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Let’s make the objective of the 21st Amendment, a reality
While expressing our sincere appreciation of your agreeing to restore the Good Principles of Public Administration into the Constitution through the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, we would like to request you and all Members of Parliament to pay special attention to the following issues in this exercise.
- The right of the President to hold Ministries should be restricted and it should be amended in keeping with the provisions included in the 19th Amendment.
- The power of the President to dissolve Parliament shall be changed in accordance with the provisions of the 19th Amendment.
- The Cabinet of Ministers shall be limited to 20 and the number of Deputy Ministers also shall be restricted to 20.
- The Secretaries to Ministries shall be appointed by the President in accordance with the recommendations of the Legislative Council and the Public Service Commission.
- An appropriate procedure should be devised for the selection of Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Missions, and appointments should be made subject to the recommendations of the Legislative Council and the Committee on above Posts.
- A transparent mechanism for signing of public property agreements and agreements for obtaining/ securing foreign loans should be set up with the knowledge of the Parliament.
- It is important that a system is developed to ensure and safeguard the independence, transparency and accountability of state fiscal operations.
- Provisions shall be made to bring the power of Presidential pardons under a specific legal framework and limit.
We would also like to draw your attention to the following points as well, as some politicians seem, once again trying to make the 21st Amendment, a part of their expansion of power.
(1) The content of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution has been amended 4 times in the Parliament of Sri Lanka with a shift in political power, and the 21st Amendment is the fifth time its being done. So much so, the people's representatives should be ashamed of, for having wasted valuable Parliamentary time and public money for the same reason to achieve their individual aspirations as well as those of the political parties they belong to.It is amazing to note that they have voted in favor of 04 different Amendments namely the 17th -18th -19th and 20th Amendments which are contrary to each other. There are 23 such representatives still in the present Parliament who have voted for all amendments, and there are lawyers and professors among them.
(2) This amendment is compelled to be made for the 5th time because it is so important to the people. At the same time the urgency of this need has already cost several human lives, state property and the property of the people's representatives. The 21st Amendment is a major demand of the youth on the struggle grounds at Galle Face as well as the majority of the country; and it will undoubtedly contribute to the well-being of the country and the appreciation and recognition of the international community as well. We therefore urge that this amendment will not be allowed to be used as a means of expanding political power, and be passed in Parliament as soon as possible in a manner that its main objectives are achieved.