Sri Lankan PM to discuss with Attorney General's office constitutional amendment

Colombo: Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to curb the presidential powers will be discussed with the Attorney General's Department on Monday so that it can be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

The 21st Amendment is expected to annul the 20A which gave unfettered powers to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after abolishing the 19th Amendment which had made Parliament powerful over the president. The first Cabinet meeting was held on Sunday. Special attention was paid to fuel imports at the meeting.

"21st Amendment: This will be taken up for discussion with the Attorney General's Department tomorrow (Monday) and then be presented to Cabinet for approval," Wickremesinghe tweeted. The powerful Rajapaksa family tightened their grip on power after their massive victory in the general elections in August 2020, which allowed them to amend the Constitution to restore presidential powers and install close family members in key positions. In his 2019 presidential bid, Gotabaya Rajapaksa won a convincing mandate for a presidency during which he sought full presidential powers over Parliament.

Wickremesinghe, who on Sunday held discussions with representatives of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on the current economic crisis in the country, said the two financial institutions have pledged support to assist in procuring essential items like medicine, food and fertiliser.

He also outlined a plan to fulfil fuel requirements. "Given the dollar scarcity at banks, we are exploring other options of securing the necessary funds to pay for the coming week's fuel requirements," he tweeted. "The government has secured payments for an LP Gas consignment which will begin to unload and distribute as early as possible," he said.

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