By Nuwan Senarathna
The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on several proposed articles of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution presented in Parliament by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).
The Supreme Court determined that the proposed articles required a special majority in Parliament followed by a referendum on par with the provisions of Article 84 (2) of the Constitution in order to be approved.
The 20th Amendment was presented in Parliament on 5 September by JVP MP Vijitha Herath as a private member’s bill to amend the Constitution to abolish the executive presidency.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, MP Ranjith de Zoysa challenged the Government to hold the referendum, asserting that the JO would gladly support the move.
“MP Udaya Gammanpila explained this would happen to the bill presented by the JVP. We believe that the 20th Amendment was prepared under the guidance of Jayampathy Wickramaratne and M.A. Sumanthiran,” he added.
He said that the referendum would be a good opportunity to ascertain whether the public wishes to abolish the executive presidency, adding that the JO would take the necessary steps to defeat the Amendment in Parliament.
“The Government needs 150 votes to win the Amendment; on the other hand, we only need 76 votes to defeat it. We already have more than 70 votes in hand and some MP representing the Government have contacted us and stated that they will not support the 20th Amendment. Therefore I don’t think that gathering 76 votes against the Government will be a big challenge,” he added.