Responding to the proposed 20th Amendment, which seeks to centralise power within the presidency and to weaken checks and balances, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference expressed grave concern stating that it would not strengthen Sri Lankan democracy.
Mahinda Rajapaksa has maintained that the 20th Amendment is necessary to bring forwards a strong government and has attacked the 19th Amendment, claiming that it was “brought in to take personal revenge” upon him and that it made the constitution “a joke”.
The 2020 parliamentary election granted the Rajapaksa administration a two-third majority which would enable for a repeal of the 19th amendment. However, the Catholic Bishops warn that;
“A two-thirds majority of the members in Parliament based on political parties does not necessarily manifest the true conscience of the people”.
They further called on Sri Lanka’s Parliament to appoint an “independent Constitutional Council” to ensure that a new Constitution would uphold “transparent democracy, the rule of law and the equality of all citizens”.
The Speaker of Sri Lanka’s parliament has said that he will announce the determination of the Supreme Court on petitions related to the 20th Amendment on October 20th. The General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the 20th Amendment will be passed before the budget is presented to Parliament November 17th.
Read more at FT Lanka.