Differing opinions have emerged in government ranks over the 22nd amendment to the constitution, with its key partner SLPP opposing the amendment.
Several SLPP MPs aired opposing views when the government parliamentary group met on the night of October 03, with president Ranil Wickremesinghe at the chair.
Its general secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, S.B. Dissanayake, Sarath Weerasekara and Sisira Jayakody claimed the amendment had been introduced without first having any dialogue within the SLPP.
Kariyawasam asked if the MPs who voted for the 19th and 20th amendments could give their backing to the latest amendment without any shame.
Twenty-odd party MPs informed him over the phone that they would vote against the amendment, he said.
Dissanayake said the executive powers of the presidency should be retained.
Ranasinghe Premadasa countered the 1989 insurgency and Mahinda Rajapaksa ended the war by using those powers, he stressed.
Weerasekara queries as to why the president’s powers should be curtailed while provincial governors and provincial councils kept their powers.
In answer, president Wickremesinghe said justice minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe would inform the MPs about the amendment.
For his part, minister Rajapakshe insisted that it was an idea by ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and not his, adding that the Cabinet has given its approval to table the 22nd amendment to parliament.
An awareness workshop for the government MPs on the amendment was due to take place at the parliamentary complex this morning (05).
The House debates the amendment in the next two days.