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Updated May 30th, 2022 at 06:50 IST

Sri Lanka PM announces constitutional reform to make President accountable to Parliament

In a major development, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced an amendment to the country’s constitution that will make prez. accountable.

Riya Baibhawi
Sri Lanka
(Image: AP)  | Image:self
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In a major development, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced an amendment to the country’s constitution that will make the president and cabinet accountable to the parliament. The 21st amendment to the constitution allows the formation of a National Council, which will have the power to summon the Cabinet of ministers as well as the chairman of Committees. For years, Rajapakshas have been accused of an authoritarian regime with the neo-patrimonial oligarchy governing the island. 

“We propose a National Council. A committee consisting of the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition and the leaders of the major parties is called the National Council. The National Council can talk about the policies of the country as well as about the decisions of the Cabinet,” said the Sri Lankan Prime Minister in a statement. Elaborating further, he highlighted "Standing Order 111 under which oversight committees will be appointed that will report to Parliament on policies".

Sri Lanka is currently battered with the toughest economic crisis since its independence. The dearth of Foreign Exchange and inflation has triggered a power reshuffle in the country, subsequently leading to the appointment of veteran leader Wickremesinghe as the PM. On Sunday, he regarded the 20th amendment of the constitution as one of the major issues responsible for the country’s plunging economy. In his statement, he also pointed out the urgency to alter the 20th amendment brought back the executive presidency in the country and gave President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unfettered powers.

Sri Lanka to follow India's example; forms 12 new committees

In order to strengthen the powers of the Parliament, Wickremesinghe said that the new laws will follow the examples of countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India. The PM said that the new laws would strengthen Parliament to exercise monetary powers. Currently, Sri Lanka has three committees on Government Finance at present - The Public Finance Committee, The Accounts Committee and The Committee on Public Enterprises.

Wickremesinghe proposed to strengthen the powers of these committees and introduced two new ones - Legal and Methodological Committees. The PM also announced ten oversight committees, the Chairperson of which would be appointed by "backbencher MPs" and not by ministers.

(Image: AP) 





 

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Published May 30th, 2022 at 06:50 IST

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