Aug 08, 2019

Sajith upset over poster,  'Sajith for the Twenty20'  Featured

The Deputy Leader of the UNP Sajith Premadasa is said to be upset over the posters displayed countrywide stating, “Vissai 20 ta Sajith Apen” (Sajith for the Twenty20), it is reported.

This is over the question as to who would have designed these posters and pasted them in places throughout the country while the presidential election is expected to be held this year (2019)

Sajith is said to be upset as such posters are being displayed at a time when the Election Commissioner has publicly announced that the Presidential election will be held between November 15 and December 7th.

Initially these posters were on A4 size paper and later his supporters had enlarged them into large posters and launched the poster campaign, it is reported.

It is suspected whether this poster campaign has been launched by a sinister group plotting to divide the UNP.

Various views in this regard had been expressed over FB.

 

UNP Leader-Deputy leader meeting

Meanwhile, it is reported that during the meeting held on August 06th between UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa at Temple Trees, the duo had discussed widely regarding the proposed coalition and the presidential candidacy.

At this meeting Sajith Premadasa had told the Party Leader that he is prepared to contest the Presidency and that he could obtain the support of several other political parties as well.

In response, Ranil Wickremesinghe had said that if that is the situation it would be favourable.

However, Wickremesinghe had also noted that to his knowledge, the party Working Committee and the majority of the MPs and minority parties are not inclined to such a decision, according to sources at the PM’s office.

Although Wickremesinghe had not refused to give Sajith Premadasa presidential candidacy, he had noted that it should be decided by the party’s working committee and urged Sajith to win their confidence.

While this is what was discussed at the meeting, the media reports suggested that the majority of the party was supporting Sajith and therefore an election is needed.

It is suspected that this poster campaign would have been launched by a group of UNP members who are supporting the opposition.

Ranil will not contest for presidency

In response to a query made by Sri Lanka Mirror, a spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office said that so far Ranil Wickremesinghe had made no indication that he would be contesting the Presidential elections.

Prior to this clash within the party, the search for a suitable candidate had been going on and Wickremesinghe had not made any plans to compete himself.

The spokesman added that it was those outside of the party who were more interested in the UNP presidential candidate than those in the party. However, he said the Premier’s aim is to appoint a candidate and contest the election under a broad alliance and win.

Is the best formula Sajith+Karu?

Meanwhile, according to political analysts, the poster campaign had been launched prior to the Easter Sunday attacks and it could be the work of a group wanting to appoint Karu Jayasuriya as the President, as the Presidency is a powerless position after the 19th Amendment, and have Sajith Premadasa appointed as the next Prime Minister at the 2020 General election.

In an explanation of the situation Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama stated that according to the 19th Amendment, from the day the term of the current president ends, the current presidency would transform into a parliamentary government. On and after that date, it will be the policies and programmes of the political party securing a majority in Parliament that will be implemented throughout the country.

He further states;

Role of the next President

What then will be the role of the next president? He/she will be the head of state, the head of the executive (i.e. the government), and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. That is precisely what President William Gopallawa was under the 1972 Constitution. 

Indeed, even under the 1946 Constitution, executive power was vested in the Governor-General. All of them – Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore, Lord Soulbury and Sir Oliver Goonetilleke – received copies of every Cabinet memorandum every week, and was then informed of the Cabinet decisions by the Prime Minister at the customary Wednesday lunch at Queen’s House. The only recorded instance of a Governor-General attending a Cabinet meeting is of Sir Oliver during the 1958 Emergency. 

In terms of Article 42, which the 19th Amendment appears to have overlooked, the next president will continue to be the “head of the cabinet of ministers”. This probably means that he may chair meetings of the cabinet, as the speaker does meetings of Parliament. He may offer his opinion on cabinet memoranda and even initiate a discussion on a subject close to his heart. What he will not be able to do is seek to implement his “policy” in respect of a particular subject, since that would be to trespass on the territory of a duly appointed cabinet minister to whom that subject has been assigned.

Through the 19th Amendment the changes already made:

The 19th Amendment has already:

 (i) removed the legal immunity enjoyed by the president;

(ii) repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of appointing judges of the superior courts; the Attorney General, and other senior officials, and required him to do so only upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council;

(iii) Repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of appointing the independent commissions, and required him to do so only upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council;

(iv) repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of dissolving Parliament at any time, and enabled him to do so only at the request of Parliament, except during the final six months of its term;

(v) repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of appointing ministers and deputy ministers, and required him to do so only on the advice of the prime minister;

 (vi) repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of removing a minister or deputy minister, and required him to do so only on the advice of the prime minister; and

(vii) Repealed the absolute power which the president enjoyed of removing the prime minister from office.

Ashan Gamhewa who regularly stands for Sajith Premadasa on social media had revealed this on an FB post.  

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