Even the best constitution can be wrongly implemented - GL

Even the best constitution can be wrongly implemented - GL

May 1, 2015   06:13 pm

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Former External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris says that the passage of the 19th amendment is not the “massive constitutional revolution” believed by certain sections of the public.

“Actually there has been no big change. Certain sections of the public believe this has caused a massive constitutional revolution. That has not happened,” he said, in an exclusive interview with Ada Derana 24X7.

He said that when the pervious presidential executive powers and existing powers are compared, “actually only a small change has taken place.”

He stated that the government had to drop some of the large scale amendments, which according to a Supreme Court determination required a public referendum, and therefore only limited changes were made to certain fields.    

Prof. Peiris also said that he believes removing the president’s power to dissolve parliament, until it has completed four and a half years of its five-year term, would lead to political instability in the country especially if a no-confidence motion against the government is passed and if the budget is defeated.

The former Minister said that, in his opinion, the President requires certain powers in order to maintain peace and harmony in the country.  

Asked whether the expectation of the people have been fulfilled by the amendment, Prof. Peiris said that the people’s expectations are not fulfilled by the paragraphs included in a constitution but by the manner in which the paragraphs are implemented.

“Even the greatest constitution can be implemented in manner that does not fulfill its objectives. In the same manner, a weak constitution can be utilized as a mechanism to achieve good results in the hands of honest politicians,” he said.

On the article included in the 19th amendment pertaining to dual citizens being ineligible to contest General Elections, the UPFA MP said that the opposition was aware of its inclusion and that “it was not secretly included into the bill.”

“As a policy it is acceptable. I believe it is difficult to object if a country’s parliament decides that parliament membership should only be restricted to citizens of that country and that possessing citizenship of another country is unsuitable as a policy.”

Referring to the new Central Bank governor, he further said that it is also unsuitable for a person appointed to head a country’s main financial institution to have dual citizenship.

“If the person who is singing our currency notes is a citizen of another country, I think that is disrespectful to our country,” he said.    

 

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