Well, shit. Maithri lied.

Remember that dude we voted in because he was going to abolish the Executive Presidency?


In reforms discussed today, the Cabinet and the President apparently decided against acting on promises. Instead, they’re “pruning” the Executive Presidency. The pruning, done according to the 19th Amendment, is (roughly) as follows:

a) A President shall serve no more than two terms in office

b) Each term shall be no more than five years

c) The President cannot arbitrarily dismiss Parliament until he has served for 4 /12 years of his term.

d) The President can be removed if the Prime Minister, Chief Justice and the Speaker judge that he’s gone too far off his rocker.

This is a problem.  Because:

a) The President still appoints the Prime Minister and the Cabinet

b) No act of the President can be questioned in a court of law, as before. Edit:  Many have pointed out that the 19th Amendment actually makes it legal to sue the President. I agree. My point here is poorly phrased  –  I wish to question whether this legality becomes practical. Sri Lankans have had a bloody terrible record of accountability, especially where politicians were concerned. Legally, ministers could also be sued, but what actions was taken when  they were shooting each other or their sons were pistol-whipping journalists?

c) The President is still Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and gets to appoint the heads of the Army,  Navy and the Air Force.

And all of this will be presented in a bill to the Parliament. If this is passed, we’re no better off than before. The President can still d) do whatever the fuck he wants b) fuck whoever he wants, provided he makes a yes-man his PM. 

Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe I voted for a system of checks and balances, not for an extension of the same God-mode privileges that Sri Lankan Presidents have had since 1978. At least, that’s what the doctor told me. Turns out Maithri’s 100-day Manifesto turned out to be like Mahinda’s Chinthanaya. This is an outrage. We’ve been lied to- oh, wait, this is a familiar feeling.

The funny thing is, Suchetha Wijenayake, over at raramimu.blogspot.com, said “Here comes the new king, the same as the old king.” At the time it seemed like unwarranted cynicism. Now it stinks of prophecy.

What does this mean? 

  •  Ranil, Chandrika and Maithri (I’ve stated them in that order because that seems to the real flow of power) are either horrible insecure or confident that they will not be voted back (same difference). Which means they’re also sure that Mahinda will come back. I don’t need to spell out what happens if MR returns – it’s going to be the political equivalent of a ripe pineapple inserted in the anus, and then twisted.
  • We have just voted in another potential dictator. Keep in mind that no President starting from Junius Richard Jayewardene has ever done right by democracy. Premadasa? CBK? MR? Bets on how long it takes for Maithri to go the same way.
  • Mahinda will experience a wave of popularity as the current government reneges on its promises (the only for voting it in).

Is this bad?

I don’t know. Maithri’s government has done both good as bad. Good in the sense that we seem to have gained a humble man, and, finally, some accountability and common sense in international politics. Forget all the people on LankaWeb who consider Mahinda sacred.  Arrogance and secularism isn’t going to win us any prices. Nor is turning a blind eye to corruption and nepotism.

From a power perspective, this makes sense – MR is still massively popular and Maithri’s government seems to have less support than it did when it started, a precarious position. They probably need this simply to instil order – at least, in their sense of the term. The problem is that they’re painting balconies and tiling floors above a fundamentally rotten foundation. Assume that Maithri works out. What of the next President? Will the Executive Presidency be abolished then? Or will we vote in another dictator?

What do you think? I think you should talk.  If you’re a writer, write about this. If you’re on Twitter, tweet. If you’re on Facebook, clear out those Candy Crush notifications and then TYPE SOMETHING IN CAPITALS. Because while we’re all collectively obsessing over Jeremy Clarkson being fired, socialism is backdooring the republic.

30 thoughts on “Well, shit. Maithri lied.

  1. u must be some sort hallucinated idiot to think just by adhoc constitutional changes and changing people will solve socio economic issues without rectifying fundamentals..and to argue the time of MR was worse than this mess, u must be born yesterday .. look stupid, the puppet president is not using any of his so called powers but still the govt is being accused of the same things in just 2 months as with the last govts 10 years..and u stll have the audacity to talk of the problem being lied in the presidency …grow up a brain, dude

    1. Really? Nobody’s accused the present government of promoting religious warfare or shooting journalists. Or of letting “family” rape the system for all its worth. Unless you’re working on that front already.

    2. Billy uncle.. first please get your english right and then your brain fixed.

      Now getting to the point –

      a) All these amazing things your mahinda maama did was not something extra ordinary, but just part of what hes supposed to be bloody doing as a president! If you thought it was his right to come and play havoc as president, you must be a bloody disgrace to the parents who spent to educate you! (that is if you are) #Uneducatedmut
      b) Expressways, roads and highways were not built to improve the betterment of your life, but to improve the betterment of Mahinda maamas deep black pockets. Any logical individual would know investing in infrastructure development is the best way to loot money. Yes thank me, you have learnt something new today #Dumbass
      c)Mahinda maamas family spent extravagantly on luxury cars, mansions, a so called budget bucket airline, expensive watches, dogs, sharks, holiday houses and a tv station with just 70,000 he received monthly as president?! Damn man…thats some crazy money management skills and ROI’s ah?! #Ponnaya
      d)Yes and if you’re wondering why theres soo much information going around on whats happening its because this govt is more transparent on what they’re doing, unlike when your uncle ran it. #LankanIdiot

      #lankansneedrights #humanrights #mediafreedom #Nowornever

    3. ha haa Billy! U are a funny billy indeed! Guess you enjoyed the pineapple up your rear for the last 10 years and guess still not realizing it’s stuck up there! The witer or no other voter is saying we agree that everything the Maithree Gov is doing is right or that we will turn a blind eye! But no one can dispute the sense of freedom and peace of mind that prevails across the country! Take a petty crime, is it less maybe not, but atleast the ability for one to speak up and walk in to the police to lodge that complaint is 10X more! Maybe you have a big brain but it will serve no purpose until you get it out of your own rear end!

  2. His constitution stated that he will be “Abolishing the Executive Presidential System with

    Unlimited Powers” : UNLIMITED POWERS. So far he is the ONLY President who has been ticking the boxes. His powers are no longer “UNLIMITED”.

    He cannot arbitrarily dismiss Parliament until he has served for 4 /12 years of his term – FINALLY we won’t be having elections every 2-3 years as when decided by the head of state. What a waste of money back in the day.

    The constitution provides, that every President who has finished his term in office an is an ordinary citizen is liable for all actions committed during his presidency and is subject to the laws of Sri Lanka. So (b) No act of the President can be questioned in a court of law, as before – is incorrect.

    Surprised to see this kind of language coming out of you. Shame . Your father has class. Sad to see your write up lacking professionalism.

    1. you say “He cannot arbitrarily dismiss Parliament until he has served for 4 /12 years of his term FINALLY we won’t be having elections every 2-3 years as when decided by the head of state ” president could never have elections 2-3 years as you say it is only after 4 years even before. If you take general elections they were only held in 2004 and 2010.

      Only thing that happened was provincial elections that were staggered. But these amendments do not help that nor does it stop president from calling early presidential elections.

  3. This is what I read in Daily Mirror website. “The Presidential immunity from being sued over matters conducted during his period of office is to also be removed under the proposed reforms.”
    Your article says otherwise!!!!

  4. It’s not my business but as an outsider I would say this ,why don’t you all wait and see, Rome wasn’t built in a day. There seems to be freedom of speech these days please tell me if I’m mistaken. If you all start this kind of comment after such a short period of time you’ll fragment political opinion even more. It seems to me with all your different political parties all with their own agenda this is something that needs sorting out..

  5. i believe you may have misread paragraphs 6, 7, 8 and 10 of the 19th constitutional amendment draft. i would suggest you re-read it with the version as of 2010 side by side (preferably with some input from an expert). a misreading is more likely than you being the only person to spot a national travesty while constitutional experts of all parties have missed it.

    president is now constitutionally bound to act under the direction of the constitutional council (paragraph 10). much of the executive power now lies with this body (which includes the speaker *and* the opposition leader). cabinet leader is the prime minister, but he does not appoint unilaterally. the constitutional council does *almost all appointments* – ministers, forces, supreme court justices, IGP, attorney general, commission chairmen etc. prime minister appointment, as before, is done by president, according to who commands the majority support of parliament. but now, president is no longer immune to suit under article 126 (fundamental rights jurisdiction of supreme court). so if he were to appoint someone else, the person with majority support could take him to court. so what maithree did this time will no longer be possible under the new amendment.

    feel free to correct any errors or omissions above. if you see none, you should seriously reconsider amending this post.

    disclaimer: i am not a constitutional lawyer. not a legal opinion.

    1. @Hasitha yes, my phrasing was poor there. The President, under the 19th Amendment, can be taken to court (a measure that was really, really needed). However, I question whether it will actually happen, given the general complacency with authority that we, as a nation, tend to exhibit. After all, the joint agreement of the PM, Speaker AND the CJ is required to remove the President; chances of that happening are astronomically low when a President has the power to appoint the PM (we must assume that the system will be abused at some point, if not by Maithri).

      It is a toned-down Executive Presidency but an Executive Presidency nonetheless; that’s not exactly the figurehead post that people were led to believe would supplant the existing system.

  6. My understanding is that the SLFP and JHU are not keen on an abolition, and that My3 has to play ball if wants their support.

    If that’s so, clipping (rather than abolishing) the EP, is incompetence, rather than deceit. One is meh, but not a breach of trust like the second would be.

    Oh, and DailyMotion? You’re a real man, making a personal attack like that from behind your anonimty. And by real man, I mean a fucking dickface.

    1. Yes, that seems to be the case. The irony is that the SLFP was one the parties shouting the loudest for the abolishment of the exec Presidency (though more through butthurt politics than an actual moral stand).

  7. What makes you think executive presidential system is bad while the parliamentary system is good? If anything the current government proved that we should never trust the parliament to propel our country towards prosperity (the economy is starting to stagnate already, stock market is down, and rupee in on pressure, while the foreign reserves are down about a whopping 20%).

    Yes mayithree could have lied but be thankful that he did. While dissolving power from one hand we can’t afford to weaken the center. That is a recipe for disaster and the fake democracy advocates just want that.

  8. While the country has already started to suffer because of lack of a strong national leadership some people seem to want completely get rid of the powerful executive presidency! People of this country are so weird, From America to Russia almost all powerful nations has a president. Only Britain and it’s colonies have parliamentary systems and most of those countries are struggling to meet any of their national issues.

  9. This is one of the most naive articles that I have read in years. ‘Oooh, I got lied to … Boo Hoo’. Sri Lanka is burdened with a President that humiliates his own country in UK. Our finance minister has LTTE money laundering ties. He is destroying major investment projects and burning the countries reputability among investors. Newly appointed Central Bank Chief committed fraud in his first decision. Foreign reserves are crashing through the floor (Nearly 15% drop at the start of March from December 2014). Inflation going up while exchange rate is depreciating. A childish PM making international incidents with moronic statements. Etc Etc.

    Lamenting that we got lied to is retarded. Sri Lanka’s current predicament is due to people like you falling for JVP lies. In reality, none of the allegations against MR was substantial. The cold hard truth is that Sri Lanka progressed in the last 10 years. India played a major part in MR’s defeat. Even when Rajitha goes around TV channels declaring his treacherous coup, our morons think its a big feat.

    There is no point in trying to teach people like you logic. Just look at how much India has actively destroyed the progress of countries around it like Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh etc.

  10. For me MY3 took a step back on good governance the moment he became president. What we had was a presidential election and not a parliamentary one, but the moment he won MY3 changed the entire cabinet and the Prime Minister. I understand that as the Executive president he has the power to do this and perhaps without doing it he may have not been able to accomplish anything… so at first I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Then he went and became the leader of the opposition. So now we don’t have a legitimate opposition, which is terrible for democracy. MR did the same thing… he weakened the opposition so that there was no one to disagree when he abused power and now its the same situation. Therefore as someone who had really high hopes for good governance with MY3 (and as someone who does not measure good governance based on the pen His Excellency uses or the fact that he takes transit flights) I’m sorely disappointed. Its the same old wine…. we just voted for a new bottle.

  11. The big issue is to limit the number of terms to two. That has been done. But the monster that is MR can bite back (as in return) given the support he has. The My3 Manifesto had a lot of disclaimers and caveats for scenarios such as this.

    I personally don’t trust any of these buggers but may be I’ll give Sirisena et al a chance considering the MR bombshell. Knowing MR and the unexpected (read crafty) way in which he’s been manipulating the public is kinda tricky and Sirisena has to retain some powers to rein the monster in just in case. It’s not as if MR has gently walked into the sunset. He is a writhing snake (cobra?) waiting to creep back into being the king again. MR remember was almost refusing to hand over the government to Sirisena and was on verge of invoking emergency powers to stay on. MR cannot be trusted and given where we were pre-Sirisena election this situation (compromise) with the amendments to the executive presidency (as opposed to a wholesale abolishing) is a necessary compromise.

    MR has not been shut down and will not be until well after we have another election and Sirisena and crowd maintains the reins on the government.

    So hold on to your horses. This is no cake walk. Big thing is that there are now limits as to the terms. TWO. That is big given the reality of the situation; not just with MR but with the armed forces too. Again, none of this can be cut and dry given that the situation in sri lanka with MR and the armed forces is not at all cut and dry. Talk about a very sticky wicket. And add some koholla to that.

  12. My only expectation was that he would be less corrupt n family than the previous guys, seems to be alright till now.

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