President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday renewed his call for abolishing the system of Executive Presidency, which came into existence in 1978.
He was addressing a gathering in Colombo at the funeral of Ven Maduluwave Sobitha Thera, a Sinhalese Buddhist leader and an activist monk, who passed away in Singapore early this week. Mr. Sirisena recalled how Thera was committed to the idea of doing away with the system and pointed out that it was due to the efforts of the National Movement for Social Justice, headed by the monk, that he became President in January 2015 and the present regime came to power.
A critic of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 73-year-old Thera was in the forefront of campaign against corruption and he was one of the advocates of good governance and constitutional reforms.
His funeral was held on the Parliament grounds in Kotte near Colombo with state patronage. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and India’s High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha were among those who attended the event.
At the time of the presidential election early this year, Mr. Sirisena promised the abolition of the Executive Presidency. The 19th Constitution Amendment, adopted by the Parliament in April, whittled only powers of the Presidency. The Supreme Court held that several provisions of the original legislation, which had sought to do away with the Presidency, violated the Constitution. The present government, which took office in August after the general elections, has planned to come up with a new Constitution. (The Hindu)