President’s term is five years

The Supreme Court has informed President Maithripala Sirisena that his current term is five years from the date of assuming office. The Supreme Court communicated its decision on Sunday pursuant to a clarification sought by the President.

A five-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice K.T. Chitrasiri was appointed by the Supreme Court last Wednesday to decide on President Maithripala Sirisena’s term in office.

President Sirisena assumed office on January 9, 2015 for a term of six years as per the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, but the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which was passed into law on April 28, 2015, restricted the term of President to five years.

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, making submissions in the Supreme Court on Thursday, stated the provision limiting the term of the President could not be applied with retrospective effect. “Any changes of the term of President would be an alienation of the sovereignty of the people,” he maintained.

The Supreme Court on Thursday concluded arguments put forward in support and against the reference application forwarded by President Sirisena.

The President in a posting on his official Twitter account on Friday said he is ready to accept the decision of the Supreme Court on the duration of his term with due respect. “I am ready to leave the position even today. That is true democracy,” he said.

The President’s Media Division in a brief note yesterday acknowledged the receipt of Supreme Court determination that the term of the incumbent President is five years.

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