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CPA wants Supreme Court advisory opinion to be made public


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The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has called on the Supreme Court to make its advisory opinion on the question of the duration of President Maithripala Sirisena’s term public, to ensure transparency. 

Issuing a statement, CPA said it appreciated that the Chief Justice and the other judges of the Supreme Court facilitated and permitted interventions from members of the public to make representations in this instance. 

“CPA notes that there have been previous occasions wherein only the Attorney General was heard during similar proceedings. CPA has consistently stated that the process in Article 129 (1) of the Constitution relating to a reference could lead to a lack of transparency. As such CPA respectfully calls on the Supreme Court to ensure that the ensuing Advisory Opinion is made public,” the statement said. 

The CPA, which made representations in the Supreme Court yesterday on the question of the President’s term, said its position on the 19th Amendment was clear. 

“The amendment makes express provision that the President’s term is limited to five years: ‘Article 30(2) of the Constitution: The President of the Republic shall be elected by the People, and shall hold office for a term of five years’. Further, the amendment’s transitional provisions explicitly state that this five-year term limit applies equally to the sitting President.”

CPA notes that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution clearly states which parts of the amendment do not apply to President Sirisena as the incumbent President and the reduction of the term of office is not such a provision, as stipulated in Section 51 of the 19th Amendment. 

“Accordingly, President Sirisena’s term must be understood as being for five years from 9 January 2015 (i.e. until 9 January 2020) and not for six years (i.e. until 9 January 2021),” the CPA statement noted. 

CPA also recalled that in the lead-up to the enactment of the 19th Amendment in 2015, President Sirisena himself noted that the reduced Presidential term of five years would apply to himself.“ 

CPA hopes the President is mindful of his earlier assertions. CPA also urges constitutional and political actors to act in a manner that upholds the spirit of the 19th Amendment,” the statement said. (DB)

 


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