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Parallel Enigmas of Pirabaharan and Rajapaksa

Photo courtesy TTN The attempts to field the ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a Prime Ministerial candidate to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections by a vocal fringe of the southern political community is similar to the attempts to reincarnate the mystique of Veluppillai Pirabaharan by a vocal fringe of the northern political community. After the demise […]

The 19th Amendment and the future of Sri Lanka

Excellencies of the diplomatic community, Mr Abeykoon, Secretary to the President, officials of the Presidential Secretariat, ladies and gentleman, It may sound as if I am repeating what has already been said when I say that I share the sentiments expressed by both Mr. Dhanapala and Prof. Munasinghe. To me, as a citizen, the 19th […]

19th Amendment is a key step forward in Sri Lanka’s path towards sustainable human development

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues on the podium, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, Ayubowan, Vannakkum, Good Afternoon. I am going to talk to you on the 19th Amendment as a scientist and professional, and I will talk about its relationship to Sri Lanka’s path towards sustainable human development (SHD) – ie., sustainable development with a […]

THE NINETEENTH AMENDMENT: CENTREPIECE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

Image courtesy News First Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies & Gentlemen, On behalf of His Excellency Maitripala Sirisena and my colleagues in the Presidential Secretariat, I have great pleasure in warmly welcoming you to this afternoon’s briefing on the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It is just over a month […]

800 years of the Magna Carta and Human Rights today

Image courtesy The Remnant Trust To me, the essence of Magna Carta is limiting the sovereignty and powers of the rulers (King at that time) and moving towards reaffirmation of sovereignty and freedoms of the people. It is about rule of law, due process and equality of everyone before the law. This is particularly relevant […]

Defeating the Saboteurs: The 19th Amendment

Image courtesy President’s Office Introducing the 19 Amendment Bill          The 19A Bill was gazetted in March, after having obtained the approval of Cabinet. The Gazetted version did not go as far as the previous changes envisaged, due to disagreement from some quarters. Subsequently, post-gazetting, Cabinet agreed to the inclusion of the further clauses. The usual […]

The 100 days programme of President Sirisena: People’s perspectives

On the 23rd April, President Sirisena completed a 100 days in office. On a site – one of many – that has monitored the implementation of the 100-days programme, 10 out of 25 promises are indicated to have been fulfilled. This week Groundviews wandered around in Colombo talking to its citizens in an attempt to […]

‘Naya Qanoon’ and the 19th Amendment

Photo courtesy Bloomberg The draft 19th Amendment reminds me of the story ‘Naya Qanoon’ (New Constitution) written by the late Saadat Manto, regarded by many as the finest writer of short stories in Urdu and as the greatest South Asian writer of the 20th century. Set in pre-independence Lahore of the 1930s the main protagonist […]

The President in the Nineteenth Amendment

Photo courtesy Maithripala Sirisena website The Maithripala Sirisena manifesto promised to implement a programme to stabilise the country in two stages, and the first of those stages is the Hundred Day programme which would be devoted to solving urgent issues. Among those matters that were signposted for reform during the first stage is the abolition of […]

A Tale of Two Chief Justices: From Process to Principles – Part II

AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S. KODIKARA, via The Malaysian Insider By Luwie Ganeshathasan and Sanjayan Rajasingham. Read Part I here. A Broader Analysis The legality of Mr. Sirisena’s decision to reinstate Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake through executive order was questionable, though not strictly illegal.[i] This is largely because it stemmed from a unique situation. This involved the initial removal […]

THE POLITICS OF HATE, THE POLITICS OF HURT, AND THE POLITICS OF THE HAUGHTY: THREE THREATS TO CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM IN SRI LANKA

Photo courtesy Maithripala Sirisena website “To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government; that is, to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, […]

An Eastminster for a New Sri Lanka: The First XI Institutional Reforms for a Parliamentary State

Photograph courtesy Article 14 blog “Vous l’avez voulu [You asked for it], George Dandin” mischievously exclaimed the Soulbury Commission’s report 70 years ago implying that their recommendation of the British parliamentary system was at Ceylonese instigation if anything went wrong. The report quoted French playwright Molière’s 1668 comedy Dandin, and defended their counsel that Ceylon […]

A Whistleblower Protection Act needs to Accompany the proposed Freedom of Information Act

Image courtesy Transparency International By S W R de A Samarasinghe & Tissa Jayatilaka The presidential election results of 8 January suggest that a significant segment of our electorate concurred with the assertion of the then common Opposition that bribery and corruption that tainted the administration of the incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa which, in turn, […]

IMPLEMENTING THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT: THE FIRST STEP OF A LONG JOURNEY

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu In his first trip abroad to India, the new Foreign Minister has stated that the new government is committed to implementing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Similarly, in his first address to Parliament after the formation […]