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.