RW Term Extension ?

RW Term Extension ?

Social Media and Web Portals are full of speculation about the possibility of Ranil Wickramasingha attempting to extend his term by a year due to a constitutional loophole left by the 19th Amendment.

These claims speculate that President Wickremesinghe would use this loophole to extend his term and that this has been linked to his decision to extend the service of Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam.
Constitutional Context:

The 19th Amendment reduced the terms of the President and Parliament from six to five years.
Despite this, Article 83(B) of the Constitution remained unchanged, leading to speculation about potential term extensions.
President’s Lighthearted Remark:

President Wickremesinghe made a humorous comment at a ministerial meeting, naming a legal counsel in the Drafting Committee responsible for the constitutional flaw, which some took seriously.
Historical Precedent:

Former President Maithripala Sirisena sought a Supreme Court determination in January 2018 about whether he could serve a six-year term, despite the reduction to five years by the 19th Amendment.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his term was limited to five years and thus any extensions don’t seem a possibility.

Political and Legal Implications:

Legal experts have advised that attempting to extend the presidential term beyond five years would be futile.
Presidential term duration has significant implications for the sovereignty of the people and constitutional law.
Attorney General’s Opinion:

Then-Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya asserted that the reduction of the presidential term could not be applied retrospectively.
He emphasized that the President was elected by the people for a six-year term before the 19th Amendment and that this should be respected.

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