Asanga Welikala, courtesy of Groundviews, whose preferred title is “Paradise Lost? Preliminary Notes on a Constitutional Coup”
A COMMENT from Professor Stanley Samarasinghe, 27 October 2018
Soon after Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the PM on October 26 evening three lawyers – UR de Silva (the President of the Bar Association), Ali Sabri (Deputy President, Bar Association) and Manohara de Silva – told TV reporters that the President had the constitutional authority to appoint Mahinda Rajapakse because in the President’s assessment Rajapakse enjoys majority support in parliament. I am not a lawyer. So when the three lawyers said so, it sounded plausible to me because there is a part of a clause in the constitution that says something along those lines. But in the article above Asanga Welikala, who is a lawyer, refers to that provision in the Constitution, but also refers to other provisions and makes a more nuanced argument that the President was wrong.
As a student of politics and economics I can say that this can lead to a serious crisis of governance with significant adverse long-term repercussions for the country. In particular this may be the first time that Sri Lanka’s democratic governance has been put at risk to this degree. It is also possible that to resolve this dispute what may matter is not so much the viewpoint of the Supreme Court, but the role of the military. That does not augur well for democracy.
- Interview with Mangala Samaraweera: https://youtu.be/DOU-tkec0mg
- Maria Abi-Habib & Dharisha Bastians; “Abi-Habib & Bastians on the Political Struggle in Sri Lanka,” 26 October 2018,