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).


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

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