In an interview with The Morning, SLPP General Secretary MP Sagara Kariyawasam stated that such constitutional reforms should not be drafted to exclude any specific individuals from entering Parliament or becoming President.
He stated that the SLPP must first study and analyze the proposed reforms before deciding whether to support the 21st Amendment.
He stated that the SLPP had extended their support to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his efforts to form a new government to address the country’s economic crisis, but that the crisis still exists.
When asked if the SLPP’s support for the 21st Amendment would be contingent on provisions prohibiting dual citizens from entering Parliament or holding public office, MP Kariyawasam stated that a country’s constitution should not be designed to target a specific individual.
“No country in the world drafts a constitution to prevent someone from entering Parliament, chasing them away, or preventing someone from becoming President.”
“Constitutions are written to meet the needs of the country,” he explained.
The proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution allows dual citizens to enter Parliament and hold public office, paving the way for former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s entry into Parliament in 2021, whereas the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution is expected to repeal this clause.
A committee led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe drafted the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.
SLPP MP Kariyawasam questioned the origins of the 21st Amendment and whether it serves the agenda of a foreign power.
“We are not saying that we will not eventually support the 21st Amendment to the Constitution,” the MP said, without confirming that the SLPP would vote against it in Parliament.
To do the right thing for the country, we first need a suitable environment in which the Amendment can be introduced and discussed.”
The draft 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill was presented to the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (23) and was distributed yesterday to all party leaders representing Parliament (24).