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Sri Lanka opposition figure calls for end to arbitrary rule

The deputy leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, Karu Jayasuriya of the United National Party, has called for an end to arbitrary rule stemming from the constitution.

Legal analysts say that the 1978 constitution, which made the president the sole appointing authority and disciplinarian, was a key factor in allowing the current arbitrary rule to exist.

According to Lanka Business Online, Jayasuriya did not apologise for the UNP’s responsibility in enacting the constitution when they were in power, which paved the way for ‘an unrestrained state’.

Analysts say the new system led to a deterioration of rule of law in the island, in the dispensation of not only criminal justice but in all government services.

Attempts were made to correct the system with ‘constitutional councils’, however these were scrapped when the post war constitutional changes were made in 2010.

‘The intimidation of the press, the harassment of political detractors and the impunity with which the regime conducts itself can all be traced directly back to the tragic flaws of our presidential system which affords absolute power,’ Jayasuriya said.

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