20th Amendment of Sri Lankan Constitution: Key Facts

The Sri Lankan Parliament recently passed the 20th Amendment of Sri Lankan constitution.

Highlights

  • The 20th amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution has expanded the powers of the President and also have increased the immunity of the President.
  • Under the 20th amendment, the President gets the power to dissolve the parliament after two years and six months after being elected. It has weakened the powers of the prime minister.
  • The amendment empowers the President to appoint any person to the Government office without having need of getting consent from members of the parliament. This includes public services, election officials, human rights, police, corruption investigation commissions, bribery, etc.
  • The amendment allows the president to hold any ministries and also appoint and fire ministers.
  • This amendment rolls back the 19th amendment of Sri Lanka.

Why was the 19th amendment introduced?

It was introduced to weaken the powers of the president. It weakened those powers that were expanded by the 18th amendment. The 18th amendment introduced four main changes. They were

  • The President of Sri Lanka can seek for a re-election any number of times
  • He can bring in independent commissions under his authority
  • The Constitution Council that initially had 10 members was replaced with a 5-member council
  • The 18th amendment allowed the President of Sri Lanka to attend Parliament once in three months. On the other hand, it entitled him will all privileges, powers and immunities as that of the other member of parliament.

Sri Lanka President and Prime Minister

The current President of Sri Lanka is Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The current Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is Mahinda Rajapaksa. They are brothers.

President Rajpaksa recently introduced a clause that lifted the ban on people with dual citizenship.

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