19th Amendment to be empowered – President | Sunday Observer

19th Amendment to be empowered – President

15 May, 2022

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister on Thursday. The swearing-in ceremony was held before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at President’s House.

He has previously served as Prime Minister five times and he is said to be the only politician to have served as Prime Minister of his country six times in world politics. Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister following the resignation of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 9. He is the only Member of Parliament representing the United National Party in Parliament.

‘Clear plan’

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa on Thursday also agreed to accept the Premiership, under four conditions.

In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Premadasa outlined his conditions. The Opposition Leader assured that his party has a clear plan to overcome the ongoing economic crisis, adding that the SJB is ready for discussions pertaining to the setting up and swearing-in of a new Government. However, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the new Prime Minister on the same day.

SLFP declines

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by former President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to be a part of the new government formed under the Premiership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. The former President told the media that the Central Committee of the Party decided neither to accept Cabinet portfolios nor support the new Government despite numerous invitations by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He said the SLFP’s proposal to overcome the crisis is to form an All-Party Government represented by a majority of Parties in Parliament. However, former President Sirisena said while being in the Opposition, the SLFP would extend its support to the new Government in matters pertaining to the needs of the people, especially the provision of essential items such as fuel, cooking gas, medicine and fertiliser for farmers.

Only one seat

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara on Friday challenged the Prime Minister to show that he has the majority support in Parliament.

At a press conference in Colombo, he said that his Party will not extend any support to the new Prime Minister. Madduma Bandara was of the view that the new Prime Minister can show that he has a majority in Parliament at the vote to express confidence in the President.

He said that the President has been sworn in to protect the Constitution and the Legislature and the person who can win the confidence of the majority in Parliament should be appointed as the Prime Minister.

He said, “The UNP has only one seat in Parliament and a politician rejected by the people at the last General Election has tied up with a President who has a mandate of 6.9 million people. ‘’

All-party Govt

National Freedom Front Leader, MP Wimal Weerawansa said the group of Independent MPs would not join the Government formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. At a press conference in Colombo on Friday, Weerawansa said that instead, they would function in the Opposition as an Independent Group.

He said the Independent Group was insisting on the formation of an All-Party Government as a solution to the present crisis, but that proposal lacked the support of the President and the main political Parties in the Opposition.

However, Weerawansa said the Independent Group would not accept portfolios in the new Government but would support it when necessary to provide solutions to the grievances of the public. He said “The appointment of Wickremesinghe as the Premier alone would not solve the present crisis but, someone needs to be in this position to address the issue. Therefore, we would not disturb his path as this is not a time to achieve narrow political agendas. We are not ready to let this country go to anarchy or make it politically unstable. We will dedicate ourselves to protect the democratic framework in the country while functioning as an Independent Group in opposition.”

Against the appointment

The JVP said that it is against the appointment of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told journalists in Colombo on Thursday that appointing Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister will not solve the crisis. He alleged that the President and former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe have reached a decision without paying heed to the wishes of the people. He said the solution to the crisis was in paying attention to the views of the people and acting according to their wishes.


Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his Prime Minister portfolio on Monday. The Prime Minister said that he tendered his resignation letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday evening. “Effective immediately, I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

A number of Government Parliamentarians who became independent in Parliament demanded that Premier Rajapaksa must step down paving the way for an Interim Caretaker Government that, in turn, must expedite negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and pass the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to be followed by an election.

Congratulatory message

Former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated newly appointed Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. Taking to Twitter, Rajapaksa wished Wickremesinghe ‘all the best’, as he ‘navigates through’ the ongoing crisis.

On Monday, May 9, Rajapaksa stepped down from office, after several violent protests broke out across the country, after pro-government supporters brutally attacked dozens of peaceful anti-government protesters at Temple Trees and Galle Face.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader R. Sampanthan said that Tamil political parties will not try to seek undue advantage from the political crisis in the country.

He told journalists that Tamil political parties will not engage in petty politics at a time when the southern political parties are engaged in a bitter fight for power and the country is in turmoil. Sampanthan said that every action and event in the country and political decisions should be in line with democracy, law and order and that there should be no killings, arson or property damage during the struggle.

He said Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was hailed by the people of the South as a great hero at the end of the battle against terrorism in 2009, has now been ousted by the same people who hailed him. He recalled that the Tamil people had voted for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who was at the helm when the battle against terrorism was won.

Full-scale investigation

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he is in the process of forming a new Government to prevent the country from going into anarchy. The President said he will take steps to empower the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving more powers to the Legislature, after the new Government is formed. He said the new Prime Minister will be given an opportunity to carry forward his program of work.

In a special statement on Wednesday, the President said that he received a number of requests for the abolition of the Presidential system. He said when the country is stabilised by the new Government, avenues will be created for the abolition of the Presidency after having discussions with all stakeholders.

The President sought support from all to protect the lives of the people as well as their property and to provide all the essentials for the lives of the people without allowing the country to collapse in this extremely difficult time. He requested the people to exercise utmost restraint at this point of time.

The President said that the unfortunate incidents that took place on Monday morning in Colombo triggered violence in all parts of the country. Violent activities were being carried out in an organised manner throughout the country even before the imposition of curfew.

A Parliamentarian was killed and over 300 people were injured as a result of violence throughout the country. The IGP has been given specific instructions to conduct a full-scale investigation into these incidents. “All those who were involved in unleashing violence will be brought to book soon. The President said that action will be taken against those who organised these violent acts and those who aided and abetted.

Quits politics

Former State Minister Prof. Gunapala Rathnasekera has said that he will never engage in politics again after his house was reduced to ashes by unruly mobs. Angry mobs had torched his house at Kurunegala.

Prof. Rathnasekera said, “I have not earned a single cent from politics.” Prof. Rathnasekera who was a senior lecturer at the Sri Jayewardenapura University was appointed as SLPP’s Panduwasnuwara organiser. He said that he earned a living by teaching thousands of students to enrich their lives with knowledge. He said that the house destroyed by the mob was built with the money he earned from teaching.

Malicious intent

Former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said people who are engaged in true struggles will never resort to destruction or violence. He said “Those who are engaged in this type of violence and destruction have malicious intent and agendas in mind.”

Rambukwella said that he cannot be shaken by burning his house. He said “As a person with over 30 years’ experience in politics, I cannot be shaken by burning my property.” Rambukwella said that he was a businessman by profession before venturing into politics and the house was built using the money earned from his businesses.

He said that he has not used a single cent earned from politics to carry out even a refurbishment of the house. He said he entered Parliament six times by securing more than 100,000 preferential votes and this type of violence cannot be condoned at any cost.

Objections to appointment

Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera and Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on Thursday objected to UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. At a joint press conference, the religious leaders said that this appointment is not the solution being demanded by the people, adding that those suffering deserve a legitimate solution, not another scheme to protect the Rajapaksas.

Cardinal Ranjith said that an unbiased and independent individual must be appointed instead, adding that the Mahanayake Theras too, had called for the same.

The ongoing crisis cannot be solved by leaders of current political parties, the Cardinal said, adding that a complete system overhaul is what is needed.

He said, “People want a person with reputed integrity, not someone who has been thrown out of power and politically defeated.” Ven. Sobitha Thera also regarded the move as one that purely disregarded the requests of the Mahanayake Theras regarding the setting up of an Interim Government, accusing the President of failing to understand the ‘needs of those on the ground’.

Biggest joke

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) regarded Ranil Wickremesinghe being appointed as the Prime Minister as a manipulated move to save the Rajapaksa’s. At a press briefing on Thursday, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that any Government formed under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not be accepted by the people, revealing that Wickremesinghe was the mastermind behind the Central Bank bond scam.

Silva said that the Government was formed with the intention of sending Wickremesinghe away, regarding Rajapaksa’s belief that Wickremesinghe is fit for Premiership despite him having previously ousted the former PM as ‘the biggest joke in politics’.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake also regarded Wickremesinghe as the Rajapaksa’s ‘saviour’, adding that no one believes that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa combo can solve the ongoing crisis.” Ranil believes in Gotabaya, and Gotabaya believes in Ranil. This is all that will happen,” he said.

Fonseka denies reports

Field Marshal MP Sarath Fonseka has denied reports that he was to accept a ministerial post in a Government under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In a statement on Facebook, Fonseka said that there were attempts to mislead the public. Fonseka said that he would not be resolving the ‘Rajapaksa crisis’ without a discussion with the Galle Face Green protesters. The SJB Parliamentarian also said that President Rajapaksa had been compelled to make concessions because of the work put in by protesters across the country.

He said, “These people need to have a say in who the next Prime Minister is. Protesters are demanding the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and I agree with their demands. The people are on the roads on behalf of all of us,” he said.

Fonseka said there had been a lot of violence during the past few days due to the action of pro-Rajapaksa supporters. Fonseka said he had no intention of holding discussions with the President and the best thing for political stabilisation was Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation.

Motion to express displeasure

The Motion to Express Displeasure against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is due to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday, May 17. This was decided on at a Party Leaders meeting held on Thursday chaired by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. The previous Parliamentary session held on May 6, was abruptly adjourned after a heated argument broke out over Police firing tear gas and using water cannons at the ‘Horu Go Gama’ protest in Diyatha Uyana, Battaramulla.

Travel ban

The Fort Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, May12 issued overseas travel bans on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others affiliated with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The travel ban was imposed on Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa, Johnston Fernando, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Sanjeewa Edirimanne, Kanchana Jayaratne, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C.B. Rathnayake, Sampath Athukorala, Renuka Perera, Sanath Nishantha, Nishantha Jayasinghe, Amith Abeywickrama, Pushpalal Kumarasinghe, Mahinda Kahandagama, Dilith Fernando and Deshabandu Tennakoon.