The 21st Amendment to the Constitution received the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday, its architect Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms. Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said.
Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ after the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday night, the Minister said the Draft of the 21A will be next sent to the Legal Draftsman and then to the Attorney General for his observation with regards to the compatibility with the Constitution.
After receiving the green light from the Attorney General, 21A will then be gazetted and will be included in the Order Paper of Parliament.
Minister Rajapakshe went on to say that the Government’s intention was to bring 21A to Parliament at the earliest. The Minister said he was confident that this process can be completed in a very short span of time.
The Minister said the Cabinet of Ministers will further discuss passage of the 21A at next Monday’s meeting as well.
The 21A Draft was presented to the Cabinet by the Minister of Justice three weeks ago and then it was decided to resubmit it to the Cabinet after obtaining the proposals of all political party leaders.
The Minister said several rounds of discussions were held with the participation of the leaders of the political parties regarding the Draft Bill and a general consensus was reached between all parties regarding several key points at the second round of discussions convened by the Prime Minister.
The 21st Amendment is expected to annul the 20A which gave unlimited powers to the President after abolishing the 19th Amendment.
The Minister said the Independent Commissions which were part of the 19th Amendment will be re-established and the Procurement Commission and the Audit Commission which were abolished by the 20th Amendment too will be reinstated through the new amendment to the Constitution.
He said measures brought in the 20th Amendment had contributed to the prevailing political instability which in turn contributed to the downward spiral of the country’s economy.
Dr. Rajapakshe, earlier said the 21st Amendment includes clauses that reduce the powers of the Executive Presidency and prevent people with Dual Citizenship from holding Parliamentary seats.
He also said the new Draft Bill will include several amendments proposed by the party leaders.