The UNP working committee adopted proposals on December 08 that noted that a constitution would be formulated to pave the way for a prime minister accountable to parliament and a president enforcing powers on the cabinet’s instructions.
When contacted, UNP WC member Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that as far as he understood it, the president would be held accountable to the prime minister and the cabinet and that the president would be the head of the cabinet.
At the meeting, they only adopted the proposal, but did not discuss the manner of appointing the president.
President Sirisena’s stand
Meanwhile, at a meeting with several SLFP ministers on December 06, president Maithripala Sirirsena said amendments that would not need a mandate at a referendum only would be introduced, said SLFP spokesman Dilan Perera.
As per clause 83 of the constitution, a mandate at a referendum is needed if certain clauses of the constitution are to be amended, and if a new constitution is formulated, those clauses get annulled, and a referendum is mandatory, constitutional experts say.
A SLFP minister said only amendments would be introduced to the existing constitution, adding the party was of the view that the executive presidency should continue to safeguard national security.
A SLFP CC appointed committee too, has expressed the same view.
JVP & JHU
The JHU too, is of the view that the executive presidency should continue with curtailed powers.
However, the committee appointed by parliament to formulate a new constitution has agreed that the position should be abolished, and that the president should be appointed by parliament or through other means, not through a direct vote.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the executive presidency should be abolished.
He said that the two main parties appeared not interested in doing so.