He made this statement at a media briefing held at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday.
The General Secretary said that if the President’s term is valid until March 16, 2020, then he has the power to dissolve the current government and a General election would be possible prior to a Presidential election.
“On a prior occasion we inquired if the President’s term was five or six years and the Supreme Court gave its verdict that the term was for five years. However, the issue is with regard to the date of commencement of the five years and the date the term ends,” he said.
“According to the Constitution, once the Speaker has approved a certain bill that it becomes an Act. Hence, in terms of the 19th Amendment, the Speaker had signed it on June 22, 2015.
We cannot pass bills which effect the past and it is enforced only from the date it is passed. Therefore, from June 21, 2015 the next Presidential election should be in June 2020. This is the party’s stand.
Hence, we can seek the Supreme Court verdict on this matter. There is a huge public dialog in this regard and even within the party. As a final determination can only be given by the Supreme Court, talks are being held within the party to seek Supreme Court clarification.
If things work out accordingly, the President has the ability to dissolve parliament after February 2020. If President Sirisena is in the President’s seat by that time, it is not a Presidential election but a general election would be held first.”
Next Presidential election in August 2020!
Sri Lanka Mirror had previously reported on May 18, 2018 that the President’s advisors had focussed their attention regarding a General election prior to a Presidential election based on an FB post by Presidential Advisor Shiral Laktillake.
He had stated that according to the 19th Amendment clause 1(3), the next Presidential election should be held in August 2020 and not in November 2019.
Who is the Chief Justice?
While President Sirisena is preparing to seek Supreme Court clarification on the termination date of his presidency, attention is being focussed on who would be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the end of this month.
The term of current Chief Justice Nalin Perera ends on the 28th of this month once he completes 65 years.