cabinet: Lankan PM to introduce 21st amendment on limiting president’s powers to Cabinet next week: report – Times of India

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe plans to take the key 21st Amendment to the Constitution to the Cabinet next week, after holding extensive discussions with the attorney general and key lawmakers, a news outlet reported on Thursday. .
The 21st Amendment is expected to overturn 20A of the Constitution, which gives unlimited powers to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after abolishing the 19th Amendment which will strengthen Parliament.
MPs Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Susil Premajayantha will review the clauses of the 21st Amendment and finalize an updated version of the 19th Amendment before presenting it to Cabinet next week, the online news portal Daily Mirror reported.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe held closed meetings with members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna as well as some MPs from the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) party on cabinet formation, according to the Daily Mirror.
The SJB said on Monday it would offer conditional support to the multi-party caretaker government led by Wickremesinghe to help tackle the country’s crippling economic and political crisis.
Wickremesinghe, 73, the leader of the United National Party was named Sri Lanka’s 26th prime minister earlier this month following the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother and prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, after violence erupted following of an attack on anti-government protesters by his supporters.
The powerful Rajapaksa family has tightened its grip on power after its massive victory in the August 2020 parliamentary elections, which allowed it to amend the Constitution to restore presidential powers and install relatives in key positions.
During his 2019 presidential bid, Gotabaya Rajapaksa won a convincing term for a presidency in which he sought full presidential powers over parliament.
Sri Lanka is grappling with an economic crisis not seen since its independence from Britain in 1948.
A crippling shortage of foreign exchange reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas and other necessities, while power cuts and soaring food prices have deepened misery Population.
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka revealed on Wednesday it had no hard currency to pay for an oil tanker anchored in its waters for nearly two months, urging citizens to ‘not queue’ for fuel .
The economic crisis has also triggered a political crisis in Sri Lanka and a demand for the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksas.

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