Rajapaksa to be sworn in for 2nd term next month

Last Updated: Sunday, October 10, 2010 - 21:38

Colombo: President Mahinda Rajapaksa will
be sworn in for a second term on November 19, a state media
report said today, months after the Sri Lankan Supreme Court
allowed him to be in power for an extra year.

Rajapaksa, 64 had called for Presidential Election in
January 26, 2009 with one year still remaining in his first
term. The Sri Lankan Supreme Court had ruled on February 2
that his second term after being re-elected would begin from
November 19, 2010.

According to the state owned Sunday Observer
Newspaper, Rajapaksa will take oath for his second term on
November 19, 2010.

The recently enacted 18 amendment of the Constitution
removes the two term limit for Presidency after being passed
by the parliament with 2/3 rd majority last month.

The tenure of Rajapaksa had earlier become the
talking point after he called elections two years ahead of
schedule.

The Third Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution
empowers the President to hold elections at the end of four
years of the six-year term.

President`s Counsel Attorney General Mohan Peiris
had submitted that in terms of the Articles 31 of the
Constitution, the second term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
should commence on November 19, this year.

The question had arisen whether Rajapaksa can take
oath from November 2010. While one section of the the third
amendment of the constitution says it has to correspond with
the date in which he was sworn in the first term (Rajapaksa
got elected in November 19, 2005).

Another section of the third amendment however,
calls for President assuming office within 14 days after being
elected.

If not permitted to take oath from November 2010,
Rajapaksa could have ruled only for over 10 years if he had
to be sworn in February, 2010 itself for a six year term (by
invoking the clause of taking oath within 14 days).

It may be recalled that the country`s first
Executive President J R Jayawardene despite being elected in
1982 October was sworn in February 1983.

Rajapaksa, who advanced the Presidential polls by
nearly two years apparently to cash in on the victory over
LTTE, won the January 26 polls by a huge margin, defeating
opposition candidate, the former army chief Sarath Fonseka.

This was after following the relevant clause of the
third amendment which said it should correspond to the date
when he assumed his first term (February 4, 1978).

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 10, 2010 - 21:38

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