The AG today (11) made that submission before a five-member Supreme Court judges panel that considered the president’s request in that regard.
The AG argued that president Sirisena’s having started his term before the adoption of the 19th amendment would mean the five-year term would begin to apply from his successor only.
Reducing that term will have an impact on the voting rights and the supremacy of the people, according to him.
However, PC Manohara Silva appearing for joint opposition’s G.L. Peiris, countered it by pointing out that the constitution clearly stated the presidency had a term of five years only.
The 19th amendment is applicable to the incumbent too, and had president Sirisena had any issue with that, he would have gone to courts then, not now, Silva stressed.
President Sirisena has said
the term should be 4 yrs.
Quoting a remark by president Sirisena made before the passage of that piece of legislation, on 26 January 2015, that is posted in the president’s website, the lawyer noted he too, has agreed for a reduced term of four years.
If the 19th amendment is not applicable for president Sirisena, that would not apply for Mahinda Rajapaka and Chandrika Kumaratunga either, PC Ali Sabry insisted, especially referring to the clause in the amendment that a person can hold that position for a maximum of two terms only.
If so….19th amendment is not applicable
for Mahinda & Chandrika either
The lawyers for Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara, Centre for Policy Alternatives and CaFFE too, said the president’s term should end after five years, in 2020.
The lawyer for the Anti Corruption Front, PC Saliya Peiris and SLFP general secretary Duminda Dissanayake, disagreed, saying it should be six years.
The SC is due to inform the president of its determination before January 14, and it is at the discretion of the president to make that public, or not.