Draft Constitution to scrap Executive Presidency
by Manjula Fernando
Parliament is expected to sit as a committee to evolve a consensus
document for a Draft Constitution to scrap the Executive Presidency.
This is being done on the initiative of President Maithripala Sirisena,
authoritative sources told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
Sources said three options will be considered, in appointing the
Constitutional Committee. The options are; MPs to meet as a
Constitutional Assembly, appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee or sit
as a Committee. The last option is expected to be adopted by consensus.
"A select committee of Parliament may not be the best option as the
process is not transparent," sources explained adding, "The new
Constitution needs a two-thirds majority in Parliament."
Sources said the Cabinet sub-committee chaired by Prime Minster Ranil
Wickremesinghe will weigh all the options in consultation with party
leaders and a decision will be reached within the next two weeks as to
the structure of the Constitutional Committee.
Meanwhile, an expert committee chaired by Dr. Jayampathy
Wickremaratne has been appointed to advise the Constitutional Committee.
It comprises legal academics, senior lawyers, political scientists and
The advisory committee held its first meeting at the Prime Minster's
office last week.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the abolition of the Executive
Presidency while naming members for a special sub-committee chaired by
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to discuss the modalities. The
sub-committee is required to submit a report to Cabinet within two
The Cabinet paper to scrap executive powers and bring in a new
electoral system was submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena on
The Cabinet sub-committee comprises Ministers Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe,
D.M.Swaminathan, Nimal Siripala De Silva, Susil Premajayantha, Lakshman
Kiriella, Malik Samarawickrema, Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiutheen, Patali
Champika Ranawaka and Mano Ganeshan.