Sri Lankan Cabinet passed the 21st Amendment with the aim of empowering the Parliament over the President

New DelhI: The Sri Lankan cabinet on Monday passed the 21st amendment to its constitution, which aims to give power to the country’s parliament over an acting speaker, and will now be introduced in parliament, a top minister has said.

The 21st amendment is expected to repeal 20A of the constitution, which gives President Gotabaya Rajapaksa autocratic powers, after scrapping the 19th amendment that strengthened parliament.

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Tourism and Land Minister Harin Fernando tweeted, “The 21st amendment was introduced and passed in the cabinet today and will be tabled in @ParliamentLK soon. Would like to thank @RW_UNP and @wijerajapakshe for taking this forward “

21A aims to prevent dual citizens from contesting elections to hold public office, among other reforms.

A section of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party (SLPP) was opposing 21A without addressing the current economic crisis.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had advocated the 21st amendment to the constitution, saying it would curtail the president’s unlimited powers, while increasing the role of parliament in governing the debt-ridden country, which is facing an unprecedented political upheaval. Used to be.

The powerful Rajapaksa family tightened their grip on power after a landslide victory in the general elections in August 2020, allowing them to amend the constitution to restore presidential powers and install close family members in key positions .

Mr. Wickremesinghe was the main sponsor of the 19th Amendment in 2015, which gave Parliament the power to act as the Speaker.

Constitutional reform was a key issue in the agreement between Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe when he took over as prime minister on 12 May.

Sri Lanka has been reeling from unprecedented economic turmoil since independence from Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has sparked political unrest with protesters demanding the president’s resignation.

Under 21A, the President will be held accountable to the Parliament.

The cabinet of ministers is also accountable to the Parliament. The National Council is also answerable to the Parliament. Fifteen committees and oversight committees are answerable to Parliament.