Sri Lanka: PM Says Protection Of Constitution Guarantees Democracy


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering a special statement said the fundamental law of the country is the Constitution. “It is now well over 87 years after we received the right to vote or franchise. Our people protected the Constitution for 87 years. We protected Fundamental Rights and whenever there was a threat, the people came forward to protect the Constitution and their own rights,” the Prime Minister said.

“That was what happened at the 2015 Presidential election. You all joined hands to end an era where the Constitution and human rights were crushed. We passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution with the aim of protecting and strengthening the rights of the people. I wish to emphasize here that by acting contrary to the Constitution, democracy will not be protected,” he said.

“The Prime Minister of the country should have the highest confidence in Parliament.The Prime Minister cannot take forward the country without the support of the majority. At the same time when a No Confidence Motion is passed in Parliament against the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers should resign and vacate the post they held. According to the Constitution, when a new Parliament is appointed, until the completion of four and half years, no one has the power to dissolve that Parliament. That could only be done by passing a motion with a two thirds majority,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.

“The wrong action committed violating the provisions of the Constitution cannot be rectified under the cloak of a General Election. The Supreme Court decision has stated that no room should be given to conduct an illlegal General Election”.“I wish to translate and read the passage found on page 85 of the Supreme Court ruling”.

“It has been said by some of the added Respondents, that by refusing the petitioner’s, applications will enable a General Election in pursuance of the Proclamation marked “P1” and, therefore, justified because it will give effect to the franchise of the people. That submission is not correct. Giving effect to the franchise of the people is not achieved by Court permitting a General Election held consequent to the dissolution of Parliament which has been effeted contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. Such a General Election will be unlawful and its results will be opened to question. A General Election is valid only if it is lawfully held. Thus, a General Election held consequent to the dissolution of Parliament which has been done contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, will not be a true exercise of the franchise of the people.”

“That was what I said on October 26 at Temple Trees. I said on that day our fight was for the sake of democracy; justice; to protect the Constitution; adherence of the rule of Law and civilized and moral conduct of society. And I also said that at the end, we would win the fight. I say the same thing even today and I will say the same tomorrow too. I will abide by my word. I will do what I say and I only say what I can do,” the Prime Minister said.

“Most of the people in this country joined together to protect the Constitution, democracy and the rights of the people. Hundreds of thousands of people who adhere to their conscience came to the forefront of this fight as Sri Lankans, disregarding their race, religion and party politics. Sri Lankans living abroad too supported this move to the best of their ability. They joined this on behalf of their country and democracy without any personal gain,” he added.

“I take this opportunity to salute them all,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.“Similarly, I would like to pay my homage to the Maha Sangha and the clergy of other religions who guided us in this endeavour. The Honourable Speaker, Ministers and Members of Parliament fully dedicated to uphold the supremacy of the Parliament and democracy. I offer my sincere gratitude to all of them. Our judicial institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, exhibited their independence and the identity to the whole world. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Judiciary as well as to the lawyers who made their legal submissions. And also, I offer my gratitude to members of the Public Service, Armed Forces and the Police who upheld the rule of law and justice”.

“My gratitude should go to the journalists who fought for the impartiality of the Media in the midst of the pressures of errant journalists and to all who toiled day and night voluntarily to tell the truth to the world through social media.“In January 2015 and August 2015, we gained the mandate of the people to bring good governance, to preserve democracy and the Rule of Law to eliminate frauds and corruption, to empower Parliament after abolishing the Executive Presidency and to uphold the sovereignty of the people. During the past three and half years we have done a lot to the Country”.

“It is due to progressive steps including the establishment of the Independent Commissions that many institutions including the Judiciary could act independently.

“The whole country is enjoying the harvest of the seeds we sowed during the past three and half years. We are happy about that. However, there are things that we could not implement in this period. Some work got delayed. We could not finalize some work. But, we haven’t lost our dedication and determination. We are determined to rectify our shortcomings. We will take steps to expedite the litigation regarding fraud and corruption. We have created an environment in which different ethnic groups can live together in harmony and co existence. We will dedicate ourselves to maintain harmony among different ethnic groups.

“Now, we should go forward. Even by now, we have initiated discussions with a number of political parties in respect to abolishing the Executive Presidency. And also, we will have discussions with the Tamil National Alliance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to bring about a political solution in which all citizens can live in harmony in a unitary state”.

“I didn’t take any steps to enter into any agreement with the LTTE in order to win the Presidential Election. In the past, I dedicated the victory at the Presidential Election for the sake of my motherland. I haven’t yet changed that stand”.

“Our intention is to form a broad alliance to protect democracy. It is only through the democratic environment in which the voice of the people is considered and the rights of the people are protected. We can bring about a dignified society where the future generation can do without fear”.

“Our efforts to create a strong democratic environment that any external force cannot suppress. My heart-felt wishes is to create such a Sri Lanka. You all wish for such a country. It is the hope of all Sri Lankans.

Therefore, I appeal to all of you to forget all differences and join hands with this broad alliance for the sake of our Motherland, democracy,rights of the people and to create a free country for future generations.”

“Let us allow our heart-felt wish”.

“Thank you all”

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