Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 12 October 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

People's will, the bedrock of a Constitution

The stability of Government is a sine qua non for development and rapid economic progress. A classic example is Singapore. Singapore has been successful due to political stability. Lee Kuan Yew served as Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990.

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris left the United States independent and at peace, but with an unsettled governmental structure. The Second Continental Congress had drawn up the Articles of Confederation in 1777, describing a permanent confederation, but granting to the Congress - the only federal institution - little power to finance itself or to ensure that its resolutions were enforced. In part, this reflected the anti-monarchy view of the Revolutionary period and the new American system was explicitly designed to prevent the rise of an American tyrant.


However, during the economic depression due to the collapse of the continental dollar following the American Revolution, the viability of the American Government was threatened by political unrest in several states, efforts by debtors to use popular government to erase their debts and the apparent inability of the Continental Congress to redeem the public obligations incurred during the war.

The Congress also appeared unable to become a forum for productive cooperation among the States encouraging commerce and economic development.

In response, the Philadelphia Convention was convened, ostensibly to devise amendments to the Articles of Confederation, but which instead began to draft a new system of government that would include greater executive power while retaining the checks and balances thought to be essential restraints on any imperial tendency in the office of the President.

Founding fathers

Individuals who presided over the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary period and under the Articles of Confederation had the title ‘President of the United States in Congress Assembled’, often shortened to ‘President of the United States’. However, the office had little distinct executive power.

With the 1788 ratification of the Constitution, a separate executive branch was created, headed by the ‘President of the United States’. This new Chief Executive role no longer bore the duties of presiding over Congress in a supervisory role, but the title ‘President’ was carried over nevertheless.

This title was a major understatement of the actual role empowered to the office by the Constitution and this choice of words can be seen as a deliberate effort by the Founding Fathers to prevent the Head of State position from evolving toward becoming a monarchical position, with the accompanying potential for abuse of such power.

Executive privilege gives a President the ability to withhold information from Congress and federal courts in matters of national security. George Washington first claimed privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice John Jay’s notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution, or any other law, Washington’s action created the precedent for the privilege.

When Richard Nixon tried to use executive privilege as a reason for not turning over subpoenaed evidence to Congress during the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), that executive privilege did not apply in cases where a President was attempting to avoid criminal prosecution. When President Bill Clinton attempted to use executive privilege regarding the Lewinsky scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in Clinton v. Jones, 520 US 681 (1997), that the privilege also could not be used in civil suits. These cases established the legal precedent that executive privilege is valid although the exact extent of the privilege has yet to be clearly defined.

Eligible person

According to the Twenty-second Amendment, no eligible person can be elected President more than twice.

The Twenty-second Amendment also specifies that if any eligible person who serves as President or acting President for more than two years of a term for which some other eligible person was elected President, the former can only be elected President once. Scholars disagree whether anyone no longer eligible to be elected President could be elected vice president, pursuant to the qualifications set out under the Twelfth Amendment.

Franklin D Roosevelt was elected to four terms before the adoption of the Twenty-second Amendment. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), commonly known by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States.

A Democrat, he was elected four times and served from March 1933 to his death in April 1945. He was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war.

A dominant leader of the Democratic Party, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his New Deal domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century. The term of office for President and Vice President is four years. George Washington, the first President, set an unofficial precedent of serving only two terms, which subsequent presidents followed until 1940.

Before Franklin D. Roosevelt, attempts at a third term were encouraged by supporters of Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt; neither of these attempts succeeded. In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt declined to seek a third term, but allowed his political party to ‘draft’ him as their Presidential candidate and was subsequently elected to a third term. In 1941, the US became involved in World War II, which later led voters to elect Roosevelt to a fourth term in 1944.

After the war, and in response to Roosevelt’s shattering of precedent, the Twenty-second Amendment was adopted.

The amendment bars anyone from being elected President more than twice, or once if that person served more than half of another President’s term.

Harry S. Truman, who was President when the amendment was adopted, and so by the amendment’s provisions exempt from its limitation, also briefly sought a third (a second full) term before withdrawing from the 1952 election.

Since the amendment’s adoption, four Presidents have served two full terms: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush sought a second term, but were defeated.

Richard Nixon was elected to a second term, but resigned before completing it. Lyndon B. Johnson was the only President under the amendment to be eligible to serve more than two terms in total, having served for only fourteen months following John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

However, Johnson withdrew from the 1968 Democratic Primary, surprising many Americans by stating, “I shall not seek and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

Gerald Ford sought a full term, after serving out the last two years and five months of Nixon’s second term, but was not elected.


Singapore is a classic example of economic and democratic success by political stability. Singapore has been successful due to political stability .Lee Kuan Yew served as Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990.

Sri Lanka

An unusual position has arisen in Sri Lanka where more opposition members have extended their support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The people from the West, South, North and the East have repeatedly acknowledged the leadership of this remarkable President who has the charisma to convince even his strongest opponents.

In defence of 18th Amendment to the Constitution: The 18th Amendment to the Constitution is a brilliant move for political stability. Even in Singapore, there were criticisms by disgruntled politicians about Lee.

But time has proved that it was effective having the same Leader over a period of time. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only leader in Sri Lanka at this moment who could direct the Nation towards economic prosperity and development.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, through the experience he gained through many political tidal waves and his survival to become the Leader of the Nation.

He thinks very hard before he makes decisions, once made he will justify his cause with his skills of advocacy which has won over his opponents.

Never in the political history of any country has so many Opposition members joined and supported the President whom they once opposed.

Amidst the turbulent waves of politics and the intricacies of conspiracies by vested interests President Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for a second term.

The Victor is President Mahinda Rajapaksa.He is justified to seek a third term by virtue of the 18th amendment to the Constitution. The victory was inevitable due to the patriotic deeds of the President and the victorious are the Nation as a whole.

Saviour of the Nation. Thousands of men, women and children driven from their lands have returned home.

The demands of an outraged community have been met. We have achieved a victory for a safer world, for our democratic values and for a stronger Sri Lanka.

We fought and liberated the people held in hostage, what we achieved and what we have to do now to advance the peace and together with the people, forge a future of freedom, progress and harmony. This can be done only under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The terrorists were the cause for men of all ages separated from their loved ones killed and forced to join the terrorists, children made to watch their parents die; a whole people forced to abandon in hours communities their families had spent generations building.

Liberation. When our diplomatic efforts to avert this horror with the LTTE were rebuffed, and the violence mounted, the President took affirmative action.

Now the people are free, the roads that were closed for years have opened, the people have been liberated.

The schools have been re-opened, they have freedom to shape their destiny. No more nights of hiding in bunker cellars, wondering if the next day will bring death or deliverance.

Now, all communities must join hands in unity and assist President Mahinda Rajapaksa to continue the development work. Finally, we have averted the wider war this conflict might well have sparked

. Now, we’re entering a new phase - building that peace - and there are formidable challenges, the foremost among them is the stability of leadership and the Government.

We must build and develop our country. For that to happen, the European Union must plan for tomorrow, not just today. Our friends the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom must assist us in our endeavour. They must provide most of the resources for this effort, but it is in Sri Lanka’s interest to do our part as well.

We must pave a path to a prosperous shared future, a unifying magnet more powerful than the pull of hatred and destruction that has threatened to tear us apart.

Tolerance and freedom

President Mahinda Rajapaksa represents tolerance and freedom, not repression and terror.

As such every person or group which transgresses these ideals should be dealt with by the Laws of the land. We have sent a message of determination and hope to the entire world. Think of all the millions of innocent people who died in this bloody century because democracies reacted too late to evil and aggression.

Because of our resolve, the past is gone not with helpless indignation, but with a hopeful affirmation of human dignity and human rights for the 2010.

In a world too divided by fear among people of different racial, ethnic and religious groups, we have given confidence to the friends of freedom and pause to those who would exploit human difference for inhuman purposes.

Sri Lanka still faces great challenges in this world, but we look forward to meeting them. We must stand united as Patriots of Sri Lanka to support and defend President Mahinda Rajapaksa and support the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The writer has experience in legal profession, having practiced as a Barrister and Solicitor in Australia, as a Solicitor of England and Wales, an Attorney in Sri Lanka and the United States and a lecturer in several universities here and abroad.


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