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19th amendment a curse – President

President Maithripala Sirisena addresses Editors in Colombo/ Udesh Guneratne PMD

President Maithripala Sirisena says the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is a curse that created a government with two leaders.

Sirisena also launched a blistering attack today on the United National Party, firmly shutting the door on a possible electoral pact with his partner in government for a future Presidential election.

Speaking to Editors in Colombo this morning he left the door ajar for a possible deal with the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna.

He said that the current differences between his Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the SLPP “will disappear closer to the elections.”

The President said that all then political parties in the country are in turmoil.

“The Opposition is saying that the government is in turmoil and is unstable. But the truth is that the Opposition is also unstable. There are various factions and there is infighting,” he said.

The President also said all the parties are yet to make a final decision with regard to their candidates. “According to the information I have although various names are being mentioned, no decision has been made.”

Sirisena does not rule out a Presidential bid

Sirisena himself also declined to say whether he was running for President or not.

He said that in the 52 years he has been politics there have been “many cross roads and many turning points. I believe the upcoming Presidential election will also be either one of them.”

He said the SLFP will not be announcing its candidate as no other party has made a final decision regarding its candidate.

President Sirisena continued to rail against the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which he said was the main reason for the instability of the present administration.

He said the drafters of the 19th Amendment “call themselves legal experts but they are actually bunglers.”

He went on to say that the Amendment was drafted by UNP MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickremeratne, TNA MP M A Sumanthiran and CPA Executive Director Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu. “It was done to please the NGOs,” he said.

He said the amendment created two leaders. “Ranil Wickremesinghe has also said that the government is like a car with two drivers. He is right.”

“One person was given the license to drive the car by the people, all of 6.2 million people,”an obvious reference to himself.  He likened the Prime Minister to someone who “got himself a license from Parliament and sat in the front seat.”  

Therefore there are two governments. One in Temple Trees the other in the Presidential Secretariat.

He also faulted the Independent Commissions created by the 19th Amendment. He says the regulations under which these commissions operate have not been approved.

He criticized the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka for sending a report about Police torture to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva without consulting the government.