The draft 21st Amendment to the Constitution, to clip the Executive Presidential powers and to re-introduce the features in the 19th Amendment, is expected to be presented to Cabinet today by Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms Minister Dr.Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, for final approval.
Two rounds of Party Leaders’ meetings and several rounds of discussions with various political parties were held on the proposed Amendment in the last two weeks. The draft legislation was initially presented to Cabinet on May 23, and it was forwarded to Party Leaders for their observations.
Minister Rajapakshe told the media that the 21st Amendment would be submitted again today with the proposals submitted by political Parties and various other groups. He said that the Amendment would be published in the Gazette after receiving Cabinet approval.
The MPs who attended the Party Leaders’ Meeting on Friday told the media that everybody was in agreement on the re-introduction of the Clause to ban dual citizens from sitting in Parliament. It has been also agreed that the President could function as the Defence Minister and that he should appoint the Cabinet of Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Parties have also arrived at a consensus that the 21st Amendment should be devoid of any provision that requires a Referendum.
Under the proposed Constitutional Amendment, a substantial amount of powers of the Executive President will be taken over by Parliament and will be distributed among the Cabinet of Ministers, Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions.
The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), National Police Commission and the Public Service Commission are to be further empowered.
The National Audit Service Commission and the National Procurement Commission, which were repealed through the 20th Amendment, are to be re-introduced.