Saturday, September 26, 2020 05:31:05 AM

A Land Like No Other

By Sasanka Perera - Wed Oct 31, 1:23 am

When President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on 26th October 2018, and prorogued Parliament until 16th November, he injected new meaning to Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority’s global sales pitch, ‘a land like no other.’ Indeed, in what land other than Lanka would a sitting Prime Minister be sacked without his knowledge in the late evening of a Friday with the cover of the impending weekend, followed by a gazette notification, also issued to confirm the sacking? For me, as a non-constitutional expert, the President’s Friday evening political stunt appears illegal and unconstitutional.

Since the 19th amendment to the constitution was introduced in 2015 with the blessings of both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, the idea was to curb the unmitigated power of the executive presidency to remove the Prime Minister arbitrarily.  Under its provisions, the Prime Minister will cease to be in office only due to death, resignation, or by losing his position as a Member of Parliament.2 and 48). But none of these have happened.  Though the President has the power to appoint a new Prime Minister, it can only be done if the incumbent has lost power in one of these three ways.

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