Category Archives: constitutional amendments

Democracy under the Gun in Sri Lanka

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sri Lanka Guardian 24 September 2020, where the title is “The End of Sri Lanka’s Democracy”

The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution is gathering momentum. The proposal, which has been published in the Government Gazette, is indeed a constitutional bombshell, literally. Its provisions are very destructive in their objectives as well as consequences. 

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Language of Governmentality: An Incisive Comparison

Chandre Dharmawardana, in a COMMENT directed at the moderate voice of Daya Wickramatunga in Thuppahi Commentary, 5 August 2020  …. here raised in status because of its salience and wisdom

Daya Wickrematunga is said quoted to say:  “Our Constitution should include that amendment. The 13th amendment that prescribed equal powers to the provinces, with equal status to the Sinhalese and Tamil languages, was aimed at that. It went to show that the ‘Sinhala Only’ policy of SWRD was wrong.”

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Barbados to jettison Queen Elizabeth: A Move to Republic

Barbados has announced plans to become a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The former British Caribbean colony, which retained the monarch as head of state when it became an independent state in 1966.gIt intends to make the transition by November next year when it celebrates 55 years since independence.

Queen Elizabeth in Barbados in 1989

The move was announced in the annual Throne Speech delivered by Governor General Sandra Mason, who is Elizabeth’s representative in Barbados.

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The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

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Ethnic Knots Today: The How

Javid Yusuf, in Island, August 2020, and also PRESSREADER where the title is “Resolving the Ethnic Conflict-  making a difficult task that much more difficult”

One of the most complex problems faced by the country after independence has been the “ethnic conflict” that resulted in a civil war that consumed the country for over three decades.  Although the conflict was not between two ethnicities (the Sinhalese and Tamils) but in reality between the State and the Tamil community, the label “ethnic conflict” has become the common parlance used to describe the events around this long drawn out conflict. Basically it has been an attempt by the Tamil politicians to persuade successive Governments to restructure the State so as to address Tamil concerns.

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Confronting Welikala and De Silva-Wijeyeratne: One

I sent the Article by Asanga Welikala and de Silva-Wijeyeratne to 24 personnel** in various parts of the world on the 29/30th August inviting Comments ….. and these THREE comments from Hugh Karunanayake, Gerald Peiris and CR de Silva are the first ‘burst’ ….. Michael Roberts 

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The Rajapaksa Reshaping of the Sri Lankan Polity

Asanga Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, in Groundviews, 25 August 2020, with this title “The Past and the Present in the (Re)Constitution of the State”  … 

The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ascendancy in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an early opportunity for the government to establish an authoritarian governing style, helped by Parliament standing dissolved, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to subject the government to the constitution. In the delayed parliamentary election earlier in August, the government and its allies sought and obtained a two-thirds majority mandate.

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Jehan Perera seeks Inclusive Nationalism amidst Pluralism from the Present Regime

Jehan Perera, whose favoured title runs thus: “Complement Inclusive Nationalism with Equality-Based Pluralism for Citizens”

During the election campaign the ruling party and its allies legitimized their call for a 2/3 majority in parliament on the basis that a change of constitution was needed to empower the future government.  But there was limited information about what needed to be changed.  The focus was on the 19th Amendment that shared power more equitably between the president and parliament, protected state institutions from political interference and banned dual citizens from contesting elections.  There were also references to the need to do away with the 13th Amendment that devolved power to the provinces, or at least abolish the devolved powers over police and land.

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Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Prospects Today

Jehan Perera, in The New Age, 20 August 2020, with this title “Opening door to Lanka reconciliation”

Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapakse, second from right, and prime minister Mahinda Rajapakse, second from left, along with new cabinet ministers stand for the national anthem during the cabinet swearing-in ceremony at the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth in the ancient hill capital of Kandy on August 12.— Agence France-Presse/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

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National Joint Committee warns Ali Sabry

The National Joint Committee (NJC) wishes to convey its best wishes to his Excellency the President, and his Government elected with an overwhelming majority, in Parliament. We have utmost confidence that the Government would fulfill its pledge to remove numerous constitutional provisions introduced to the Constitution through many amendments that has plagued the structure of this state. It was reported in a lead news report that the Minister of Justice Hon. Ali Sabry is drafting the amendment he intends tabling before Parliament in mid-September, the contents of which we are unaware.

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