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SL Marxist party demands abolition of Prez`s exec powers

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 14:27

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s opposition Marxist JVP party has claimed that the President`s executive powers posed "a grave threat" to democracy and warned that it would take to
the streets if they were not scrapped before the next presidential polls due in 2011.

JVP Supremo Somawansa Amarasinghe said that President
Mahinda Rajapaksa had signed an agreement with his party in
2005, when he assumed office, under which he had pledged to
abolish the presidency`s executive powers introduced in 1978
before the end of his first six-year term.

The JVP would obstruct holding of another presidential
election without first abolition of the executive presidency
which "was posing a grave threat" to democracy in Sri Lanka,
he told reporters here yesterday.

"The executive President is not responsible to
Parliament. When the open economy was introduced in Sri Lanka
(by the late President J R Jayawardene), the (then ruling) UNP
government knew the people would protest," Amarasinghe said.

"J R Jayewardene introduced the executive presidency to
overcome those protests," he was quoted as saying by the
`Island` newspaper.

Jayawardene, who became the first executive President of
Sri Lanka, remained in the post from 1978 to 1989.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa had promised the abolition
of the executive presidency and signed an agreement with the
JVP (n this regard) on September 8, 2005," Amarasinghe said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 14:27
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