The United National (UNP) Party yesterday renewed calls for the Government to halt plans to repeal the 19th Amendment, citing the need of the constitutional provision to maintain a balance of power between the different arms of Government.
UNP Senior MP Lakshman Kiriella pointed out that the Amendment was done with a broad consensus of both UNP and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarians, many of whom are still Members of Parliament and minority representatives. He made the comment addressing a press conference held at party headquarters.
The MP recalled that the Amendment was reviewed by the Supreme Court, indicating that the changes made were in accordance with the law.
“At the time the 19th Amendment was passed , the UNP only had 45 seats in Parliament, we had many discussions and the entire Parliament came together to pass it with two-thirds majority,” he said, pointing out that the 19th Amendment brought stability and balance of power between the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
“When the constitutional crisis happened, the judicial independence brought by the 19th Amendment was clearly shown,” he opined, pointing out that the independent bodies such as the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and the National Police Commission (NPC) enabled the Judiciary to stand up to the Executive and uphold the law.
Kiriella questioned the motives behind the new Government calling for a two-thirds control of Parliament to serve the public and possibly roll back the 19th Amendment.
“Some in the Government are claiming they need two-thirds control to serve the public. Why? They already have administrative powers to serve the people, even with a simple majority. The two-thirds is required if they want to undermine the 19th Amendment,” he added.
“You don’t need two-thirds control of Parliament to serve the people,” he stressed, reminding that a simple majority or coalition was sufficient to deliver services to the public.
The UNP MP renewed calls for public support to uphold democracy and to rally with the UNP against efforts to repeal the 19th Amendment.