Sri Lanka’s President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has appealed for support of his efforts in carrying out his program for “the benefit of the country,” including the revoking of the 19th Amendment.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was passed by the 225-member Sri Lankan Parliament — with 215 voting in favor, one against, one abstained and seven were absent — in April 2015 under the Maithripala Sirisena presidency. The amendment envisages the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency, which had been in force since 1978.
Rajapaksa said that during the election campaign he had never mentioned the name of the main opposition candidate at any point and had never criticized his views. This, he said could be a Guinness record.
President Rajapaksa expressed these views during a meeting with the chief editors, news editors and directors of media institutions earlier this week.
Rajapaksa said in response to a question raised during the meeting that he required a 2/3rd majority in order to remove the obstacle placed by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. According to Rajapaksa, the independent commissions introduced by the 19th Amendment are in fact not independent.
The 19th amendment was a result of promise made by the previous President Maithripala Sirisena leading up to the 2015 Presidential Election and the repealing of the 18th Amendment that gave the President extreme powers.
Meanwhile, discussions were held at the Presidential Secretariat regarding the future plans for the Education Ministry. During this meeting the president’s attention was focussed on the decision taken by the Education Ministry to omit political statements and the photographs of politicians from school text books.
President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also insisted that computer knowledge should be included in the curriculum of all students above grade six. He also issued instructions to transform the 19 teacher training institutions into universities where teachers could obtain degrees in education.