JVP leaders to meet MR on 20th Amendment | Sunday Observer

JVP leaders to meet MR on 20th Amendment

Party leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will meet Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday (6) to discuss the 20th Amendment to the Constitution presented by the party. JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake told the Sunday Observer that the meeting will take place on Wednesday led by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and several members of the party’s politburo.

“The JVP has decided to meet members of other political parties on abolishing the Executive Presidency through the 20th Amendment,” he said adding that the JVP will meet key political party leaders including Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe, R. Sampanthan, Rauf Hakeem, Rishad Badurdeen and many others in a few days.

However, the Joint Opposition, which backs Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has voiced its dissent against the 20th Amendment proposed by the JVP. Earlier this week several backbenchers of the JO told the media that they would not support the 20th Amendment.

Joint Opposition stalwart Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the JO led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna also supports the negative views of its backbenchers on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Nanayakkara said the 20th Amendment to the Constitution which seeks to abolish the Executive Presidency was proposed by the JVP for their benefit. “Their aim was to avoid contesting the Presidential election,” he said adding that if the party was forced to contest, the result would not be favourable to them. “It, in turn, would have had an unfavourable bearing on the next General Election,” he said.

Nanayakkara said he is agreeable to the principle where the powers of the President will be handed over to Parliament instead. “Parliament should become the repository of all powers and they should not be vested in one individual even though he was voted into power by the people,” he said. According to the JO MP, at a time of political crisis and political transition, the Prime Minister of the country cannot be more powerful than the President in the present context.

“We feel that the JVP is colluding with the UNP on this matter,” Nanayakkara said adding that, therefore, the JO is not ready to take part in any discussion with the JVP.

United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Kegalle district MP Tharaka Balasuriya voiced concern against the 20th Amendment. Balasuriya said there had not been a discussion on the 20th Amendment within the party or among the MPs.

“Therefore, I cannot comment on the party’s stance,” he said adding that many MPs of the UPFA are against abolishing the Executive Presidency.

Commenting on media reports that the Leader of the Opposition would discuss with the JVP on the abolition of the Executive Presidency on March 6, MP Balasuriya said the Opposition Leader could discuss with any party, on any matter, in hand. “But the contention is what they would discuss.

Balasuriya said if they talk about the abolition of the Executive Presidency, there are many senior politicians in the UPFA including the Leader of the Opposition and MPs such as Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Dinesh Gunawardena who are in favour of abolishing the Executive Presidency but most of the young politicians in the UPFA are against it. “However, both senior and young MPs in the UPFA are fully opposed to the 20th Amendment draft presented by the JVP,” he said.