By S. I. Keethaponcalan –
Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan
As expected, the government is gearing up to enact a new constitution. In his first policy-statement delivered on August 20, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared that the government would “formulate a new constitution suitable for the country. In this, the priority will be given to the concept of one country, one law for all the people.” The landslide victory in the parliamentary election, the ability to manufacture the two-thirds majority necessary to introduce a new constitution, and the about 60 percent popular support the government currently enjoys have provided the confidence that it could structurally alter the Sri Lankan state and society.
Government sources have revealed that they would replace the 19th Amendment with a new amendment (20th) before moving on to cancel the existing Constitution. When the present Constitution is canceled, the recent amendment would also be removed. Hence, the idea of replacing the 19th Amendment before introducing the promised new constitution seems illogical. In reality, it is a very savvy move. The 19th Amendment is irritating to the government, and it believes that the Amendment must be removed. That is a priority.
Right now, the government has 148 seats that belong to the SLPP-led coalition. Three additional votes in Parliament would be supplied by the National Congress, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal, and the Our Power of People Party. This would increase the government’s strength in Parliament to 151 seats. Hence, the government has the bare minimum in terms of the capacity to make any changes to the Constitution.