Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila sees a call for abolishing the executive presidency as part of a conspiracy to postpone the next presidential election.

The former minister alleged that President Wickremesinghe had enlisted the backing of some NGOs for his move to put off election.

Addressing the media at his Pita Kotte office, MP Gammanpila said that some NGOs had revived their campaign for doing away with the executive presidency with the blessing of the government.

“The Leader of the Opposition said if there was provision for dissolving Parliament soon after the abolition of the executive presidency, his party would support the proposal. The government has accommodated the Opposition Leaders request as a transitional provision. Several political parties in the Opposition have already expressed their support for this proposal. The government expects the support of the SJB, the JVP and the TNA because these parties have already asked for the abolition of the executive presidency.”

“The Supreme Court has already determined that a constitutional amendment to abolish the executive presidency will have to be approved by the people at a referendum in addition to ratification by Parliament with a two-thirds majority. After parliamentary approval the proposal should be placed before the people at a referendum. The steps to be taken after the people’s approval are specified in Article 80 of the Constitution.”

“However, if there is a petition challenging the validity of the results of the referendum, the President cannot certify the Bill until the Supreme Court determines whether the outcome of the referendum is valid.”

“In other words, if a person challenges the validity of the referendum, the executive presidency will not be abolished pending the Supreme Court determination. The incumbent President can remain in power until the dissolution of Parliament in August 2025. The Referendum Act says that every endeavor shall be made to conclude the hearing petitions within six months, but it is not mandatory.”

“Some may argue that the present Constitution is in operation until the President certifies the Constitutional Amendment and as a result the Executive Presidency is still in operation. Hence, there is no barrier to hold the Presidential election. Technically, it is true but not pragmatic. We urge opposition parties not to fall into this trap and help the government avoid the next presidential election.”



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