Was 19th A retrospective or not, questions Rajitha

Whether the 19th Amendment was retrospective or not, was the question, said co-Cabinet spokesperson, Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday, as he explained questions regarding President Maithripala Sirisena’s query to the Chief Justice on the length of his term.

“The President was prepared for an election in 2020, but he had been told that he would have to stay on until 2021,” said the Minister, addressing the weekly Cabinet briefing held at the Parliamentary Complex.

His inquiry was to clarify this question, he added.

Minister Senaratne noted that as laws in Sri Lanka were not retrospective, it was generally believed that the five year term proposed in the 19th Amendment would not apply for the incumbent, but would do so hereafter.

“I suspect that this would be the opinion of the legal fraternity too,” said the Minister.

When questioned whether the President was seeking a second term, he replied, “If he wanted a second term, he would not have asked this question.”

President Sirisena has asked for an opinion on the matter from the Chief Justice by January 14. The Chief Justice in turn, had written to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to express their views on the matter. He also appointed a five judge bench yesterday to deliberate on the query and arrive at a decision.

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