Despotic and chaotic rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa came to an end on January 8, 2015 and the Srilankan people got a new hope in the form of their new President Maithripala Sirisena.
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s reign was full of anarchism, nepotism and corruption. His only good deed was to fight against LTTE. Rajapaksa did not expect such grossly loss, in fact he has already cleared and strengthen his post and power through 18th amendment in Srilankan constitution.
How 18th amendment empowers President?
It was hoped that after winning the secessionist war with the Tamil militants, who troubled the island nation for 26 years, the government would accord top priority in finding a political solution to the ethnic issue. But the government evidently had other things in mind.
It was 18th amendment. What was that?
• The President can seek re-election any number of times.
• The ten-member Constitutional Council has been replaced with a five-member Parliamentary Council.
• Independent commissions are brought under the authority of the President.
• It enables the President to attend Parliament once in three months and entitles him to all the privileges, immunities and powers of a Member of Parliament other than the entitlement to vote. In short, it is all about arming the President with absolute power.
The bill was along these lines put on quick track and established inside of 10 days without offering the Sri Lankan open any opportunity to air their perspectives.
The cabinet of ministers decided to confirm the proposed eighteenth Amendment Bill as critical and affirmed it on August 30, 2010.
The legislature contended that the correction was the key to reinforce and augment the vote based and sovereign privileges of the individuals. In all actuality, on the other hand, the change has packed all forces in one individual – the President.
Regions were completely sidelined amid the procedure. As indicated by the Standing Order 46 (A) the Provincial Councils ought to have been counselled on any Bill that accommodated matters influencing their undertakings.
The 18th amendment has removed them completely. It gives the President full control over the executive, legislature and judiciary.
How Sri Lanka changing under new rule?
Maithripala Sirisena was voted into power on a platform of ending the corruption and nepotism, apart from this, it was sympathetic side of Tamil people who wanted a change from the despotic rule which they saw during Srilankan civil war during which they had undergone human rights abuse and repressive measures.
And the first change came on January 8, 2015. Sirisena came up with 100 days work programme for Sri Lanka. These are as follow:
• In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of representatives of parties represented in Parliament as well as Civil Society organizations.
• The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established and their Chairmanship will be given to representatives of all Ministers in consultation with the leaders of all parties represented in Parliament.
• The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19thAmendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.
• An all party committee will be set up to put forward proposals to replace the current Preference Vote system and replace it with a Mixed Electoral System that ensures representation of individual Members for Parliamentary Constituencies, with mechanisms for proportionality.
• A Vote on Account will be introduced in Parliament to implement special measures to provide relief to the people by reducing the rising Cost of Living.
• A Code of Conduct will be introduced for observation by all representatives of the People.
• Salaries will be raised and direct and indirect taxes on necessary goods and services will be reduced.
• An Ethical Code of Conduct will be introduced legally for all representatives of the people.
• Independence Day will be celebrated with re-establishment of Democracy and Good Governance and the Sovereignty of the People.
• Special Commissions will be appointed to investigate allegations of massive corruption in the preceding period
• A Bill to implement the National Drugs policy will be tabled, following adoption of the Policy by Cabinet.
• Independent Commissions will be established and required appointments made
• The National Audit Bill will be introduced and passed within 3 weeks
• The Right to Information Bill will be introduced and passed within 3 weeks
• New elections laws will be prepared in accordance with the proposals put forward by the all party committee
• Amendments to change the system of elections will be placed before Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible
• The National Drugs Policy will be passed by Parliament
• The National Audit Bill will be passed by Parliament
• The Right to Information Act will be passed by Parliament
• The Constitutional Council will be set up and the process of making appointments to and establishing Independent Commissions will begin
• A Parliamentary system will be put in place instead of the Executive Presidential system.
• Parliament will be dissolved and free and fair elections held under a caretaker government. Following that election, the Prime Minister will be appointed from the party getting the highest number of seats at such election, with a Deputy Prime Minister from the party getting the next highest number.
• A National Government of all parties represented in Parliament will be established to govern for a period of at least two years.
• Under that government a National Policy Framework will be formulated to deal with the principal challenges the country faces, and a political culture will be developed to act in accordance with that Framework.
The nation is suffering from authoritarianism, and decisions taken by a few family members with no consultation of or care for the people. The destruction of ethical and socio-cultural values has led to grave suffering, through massive waste and abuse and corruption and absolute impunity. We need therefore to provide immediate relief to those who are oppressed, and embark on social and economic reforms that will restore normalcy and lead to prosperity for all.
With all these above mention programme wants to bring the change and restore the democratic ambiance in Sri Lanka. He wants to set up new ethics for politician and political parties. A few of above mentioned changes have been done and remains are overdue.
These 100 days reforms promise a lot of good things but implementing all these in short span of time is a big concern for public as well as government. Formulating and announcing during election campaign is totally different from the practicality. If Sirisena would implement even half of it during 100 days, it would be great achievement for him.
The upcoming expected changes
• The first proposed constitutional reform is to reinstate a parliamentary system of government.
• President Sirisena pledged to repeal the controversial 18th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.
• President Sirisena has committed to devolving authority to Sri Lanka’s provinces.
New government has guaranteed considerable established changes. Together, these three changes ought to put Sri Lanka on the way towards responsible government with more noteworthy self-rule for minority bunches. The annulment of the eighteenth Amendment, which would restore free commissions and Presidential term points of confinement, is the clearest proposition for change. This would decentralize control inside of the Sri Lankan government, which may additionally debilitate focal control over the areas. This maybe mitigates worries that the thirteenth Amendment does not adequately degenerate energy to Provincial Councils, despite the fact that it contains abundant potential to do so.
Upcoming Parliament election of Sri Lanka which will be held on August 17, 2015 would also determine the changes which Sirisena wants to bring. Sirisena wants such Prime Minister which can help him in bringing all these changes. Contesting of Rajapaksa is very much concerning for Sirisena. Though, wave is in favour of Sirisena but interference of foreign agencies can alter the expected result.
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