- The 3 members of the clergy who staunchly backed the election of the President write expressing concerns about the 20A Bill
- Say the Amendment will create a powerful Executive; weaken Legislature, Judiciary and Cabinet
- Asks for several clauses in Bill to be removed before it is enacted
Opposition to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution from members of the Buddhist clergy grew yesterday with three prominent monks writing to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urging him to reconsider passing the Bill in its current form.
The three members of the clergy – namely Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera, Muruttettuwe Ananda Thera, and Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thera – who staunchly backed the President at the last election, said in the letter that the 20th Amendment will create an Executive with unlimited powers, weaken the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the Cabinet.
“This Amendment disregards the wishes of the nationalistic forces that were behind the President’s victory as well as the wishes of the people. It has already been met with displeasure by the people and seems a piece of legislation drafted by those who do not have basic knowledge on such matters,” the Theras said, adding that if this Bill is enacted, it will create a political and social crisis.
The Theras have suggested several amendments to the Bill be made before it is put for approval by Parliament.
These include doing away with the clauses in 20A that seek to reintroduce urgent bills, and those that enable dual citizens to become MPs, interferences with the work of the Auditor General, the appointment of judges of the superior courts without consultation by the President, as well as reducing the power of the Election Commission.