President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe (Read in Sinhala)

17th amendment to the constitution was passed on October 03, 2001. Under this, the Constitutional Council was established and members were appointed to independent commissions through it. It was the only amendment that was unanimously endorsed by all the member representing the government and the opposition during the political history of Sri Lanka. 

Translations by Creative Content Consultants

18th amendment to the constitution was passed on September 8, 2010. Accordingly, the number of terms to contest for the presidency was not restricted and the Constitutional Council and the independent commissions were nullified. Presidential powers were strengthened by removing certain restrictions.

The 19th amendment to the constitution was passed on April 25, 2015. The constitutional amendment limited the number of terms an individual can become the President to two times. The presidential term was reduced to five years from the six years previously. Right to information was recognised as a fundamental right. Constitutional Council and the independent commissions were re-established. The number of Ministers in the cabinet was also limited (unless the rule is a national government).

There are 26 members in the parliament whohave voted all three above mentioned constitutional amendments which are entirely different from each other.

The list of the MPs who voted to all three 17th, 18th and 19th amendments:

1. Anura Priyadarchana Yapa

2. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena

3. Dullas Alahaperuma

4. Mahindananda Aluthgamage

5. Nimal Siripala De Silva

6. Douglas Devananda

7. Duminda Dissanayake

8. S. B. Dissanayake

9. Johnston Fernando

10. Bandula Gunawardena

11. Dinesh Gunawardena

12. Rauh Hakeem

13. Priyankara Jayaratne

14. Gamini Lokuge

15. Kumar Welgama

16. Dilan Perera

17. Susil Premajayantha

18. Chamal Rajapakse

19. Keheliya Rambukwella

20. Mahinda Samarasinghe

21. Rajitha Senarathne

22. John Seneviratne

23. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya

24. Janaka Bandara Tennakoon

25. Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi

26. G.L. Peiris

26. Maithreepala Sirisena (President when 19th amendment to the constitution was brought)

27. Mahinda Rajapakse (President when 18th amendment was brought. He was not present in the chamber to vote the 19th amendment, but his faction voted to it.)

20th amendment is contradictory to the 19th amendment. Through it, presidential powers are further strengthened by nullifying Constitutional Council and the independent commissions. No limit of cabinet Ministers. However, the number of presidential terms of an individual and also the number of years of a term remains untouched.

The vast majority of these members may raise their hands in favour of the 20th amendment. There is a probability that Rajitha Senarathna, Kumar Welgama and Rauf Hakeem may vote against it.

However, Hakeem indicates that he will do the same what he did when the 19th amendment was debated and passed in the parliament. Hakeem, who was in the opposition then, manipulated the time allocated to the opposition to speak in favour of the bill and subsequently voted in favour of the 18th amendment. He was immediately rewarded and was sworn in as cabinet minister a few weeks later.

Translated by Rajendra Wijesinghe

Translations

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