Friday, November 16, 2018 03:13:29 AM

Nailing Canards: Why President Sirisena’s Actions Remain Illegal, Unconstitutional, And Illegitimate

By Asanga Welikala - Wed Oct 31, 9:39 pm

Featured image courtesy Maatram

There have been intense public debates over the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution, and especially the far-reaching changes introduced by the Nineteenth Amendment in 2015, since the dramatic and ongoing attempt at an unconstitutional transfer power that began on the evening of Friday 26th October. Unfortunately, the discussion has been clouded by the attempts of those who are trying to uphold the approach taken by Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa, to present arguments that are – at best – simply wrong, without any valid legal basis, or based on a lack of understanding of the Constitution – or at worst – motivated by a deliberate desire to lie, dissimulate, distort, and misinform the public.

Such attempts gather greater traction than they should in a context defined by a history of weak communication by the legally constituted government, a largely uncritical and unprofessional mainstream media, and an electorate that has been poorly informed about the major changes established by the Nineteenth Amendment in 2015 – a constitutional amendment that was enacted as a direct implementation of the historic mandate for democratisation and good governance given by 6.2 million Sri Lankans of all communities and classes at the presidential election of 8th January 2015.

The following is an attempt to identify some of these false arguments, and to present clear rebuttals to them based on what the Constitution actually provides, and on the principles that ought to inform the working of a democratic constitutional system that the people of Sri Lanka mandated in 2015.

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