Sri Lanka is in Double Trouble!
Today, the President has ensured himself a Constitutional Crisis it seems. This being the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, who has suddenly appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his Prime Minister. However, there is a problem. The current President has already a Prime Minister. That happens to be Ranil Wickremesinghe. This is a self inflicted Constitutional Crisis made by the President for whatever reasons he has.
The President has really put himself into a pickle. Because the Constitution is clear on the Prime Minister and his post. So after the second appointment, the first Prime Minister used the part of the Constitution Article 42 (4). Which states: “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the
Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”. The PM was also sacked in 2004, but that was other reasons, than today. But shows the intent to fight back.
There has also been revisions of the Constitution, the 19th Amendment in 2015. Which changed the Article 46 (2), where it today states:
“(2) The Prime Minister shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution unless he –
(a) resigns his office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President; or
(b) ceases to be a Member of Parliament” (Sri Lanka Constitution, 15th May 2015).
Or put it bluntly like the CPA Lanka does it: “The President no longer has the power to remove the Prime Minister at his discretion. [Clause 9 of the 19th Amendment, Article 46(2) of the Constitution]” (Centre for Policy Alternatives – ‘A Brief Guide to the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution’ May 2015).
President Sirisena was sworn-in on the 9th January 2018. It was just mere months after the 19th Amendment was ratified and became law. Changing the Constitution and the Powers of the Executive. That meaning, because the revised laws… means that in particular, the President himself who is elected just mere months before should know this. Therefore, the first PM Wickremesinghe got a good case concerning the legality of today’s action and swearing-in of the second PM Rajapaksa.
Who knows how this will go, if the courts will be involved or anything will spiral out of this. I got no idea. But the easy judgment would be counter-act for the First PM will legal remedy and through the Parliament. If that will work or depending on the strength of the President and the previous one who he has suddenly appointed.
This is really double trouble. How problematic, time will tell. Peace.