President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the Supreme Court for an opinion on whether he can stay in office as President for six years – till 2021. This comes in the midst of questions whether his term will finish in 2020 as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which was made law after he assumed office stipulates a President’s office to be five years, not six.
The matter will be argued in open court on Thursday.
In his communication to the Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, President Sirisena has asked;
“Whether, in terms of Provisions of the Constitution, I, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32(1) of the Constitution on 09th January 2015, have any impediment to continue in the office of President for a period of 6 years from 09th January 2015, the date on which the result of my election to the office of President was declared”.
President Sirisena has asked for a response to be submitted to him on or before January 14, 2018. Registrar of the Supreme Court M M Jayasekera has notified the President and Secretary of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to their membership that the matter will be listed on Thursday (January 11) at 11am in the Supreme Court.
The transitional provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, passed on May 15, 2015, under an ambitious 100-day programme, clearly states that the persons holding office as President and Prime Minister on the day preceding April 22, 2015, shall continue to hold such office after such date subject to amendments introduced by the Act. Section 30 of the 19th Amendment stipulates that: “The President of the Republic. Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution 3 (2) The President of the Republic shall be elected by the People and shall hold office for a term of five years.
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