U.N. envoy hails 19th amendment

The 19th Constitutional Amendment, envisaging the dilution of powers of the Executive Presidency and other constitutional reforms in Sri Lanka, has come in for appreciation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. He appreciated the amendment during his opening statement to the 29th session of the Human Rights Council, which was held in Geneva recently.

The Sri Lankan Parliament had recently adopted the 19th Constitutional Amendment Bill with an overwhelming majority.

What is it about?

The legislation envisages the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency, which had been in force since 1978.

Important features of the Bill:

  • The reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years.
  • Re-introduction of a two-term limit that a person can have as President.
  • The power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years [unlike one year, as prevalent now].
  • The revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.
  • The President remains the head of Cabinet and he can appoint Ministers on the advice of Prime Minister.

Sources: The Hindu.

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