9/23/2010

Sri Lanka's hand picked democracy; what an amendment to what a constitution!

(September 23, 2010, Colombo - Lanka Polity, Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe)Today, the 23rd of September is a crucial day for Sri Lanka.

The time frame given to the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to appoint members for the five-member parliament committee will end today and the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will appoint the two Tamil and Muslim representatives for the committee in accordance with the powers vested in him by the 18th amendment to the constitution.

The Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe earlier appointed Tamil National Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran as his representative but the TNA rejected it on the basis it opposed the 18th amendment. The Opposition Leader said his strategy was to appoint representatives that reject the position so as to disrupt the smooth functioning of the parliamentary committee. It is understandable that his party has no MPs that he is sure of rejecting the position as he expects. He wants TNA to be his scapegoat but TNA does not.

The Prime Minister is in a struggle to save his position in the second term of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa that is to start in November. He will readily appoint any Tom, Dick or Harry asked by the President. But here it seems worse than that and the President appears advised the Prime Minister to keep mum. Therefore the Premier leaves his nomination vacant and the Speaker will have the chance to appoint the two nominees to represent Tamil and Muslim communities.

Who is the Speakaer? He is non other than the President's elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa.

The President handpicked the Prime Minister. The President hand picked the Speaker. The President hand picked the two Tamil and Muslim representatives. The Opposition Leader will not participate in the parliamentary committee.

The parliamentary committee has powers only to make observations to the appointments made by the President to the 'independent' committees. The President will hand pick the members for these committees and he may regard or disregard the observations of the parliamentary committee members he hand picked. Perhaps the observations may also be hand picked by the President.

What an amendment to what a constitution!

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