21 th Amendment : Much Ado About Nothing

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The Gotabaya Rajapaksa-Ranil Wickremesinghe government seems to show the country that they want to move on with the 21st constructional amendment in which President Rajapaksa continues in office after giving up some of his executive powers.

Now the 21st constructional amendment has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Many claims that still the president has the power to call the shots and still power revolves around a single person.

One of the main areas is bringing back the Constitutional Council under the aegis of Parliament. Abraham Sumanthiran, Jaffna District Parliamentarian, pointed out that despite the amendment power to manipulate the council remains in the hand of the president

“The amendment is framed in such a way as to bring at least six persons from the government side. That means there will always be a bent toward the government.

Mr sumainthiran points out that such a council will not be an apolitical entity as envisaged originally in the 17th amendment.

Many commenters point out that given the fact that there is a wide consensus all over the country for radical change the proposed amendment is more of a showpiece that may not bring the desired change.
A tweet from lawyer Luwie Niranjan (Ganeshathasan) who is also a researcher notes that the 22A is weaker than the 19th amendment.

He also points out that the changes proposed in the Bill (22A) to the President’s powers to appoint a Cabinet of Ministers, and allocate subjects and functions to ministers will only come into operation from the next Parliament. Hence, the current President’s powers remain unchanged as they are today.

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