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Sri Lankan Parliament passes 20th Amendment

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Sri Lankan Parliament passes 20th Amendment:


Context:

20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution was recently passed.

Highlights of the 20th Amendment:

  • It envisages expansive powers and greater immunity for the Executive President.
  • The Amendment rolls back Sri Lanka’s 19th Amendment, a 2015 legislation that sought to clip presidential powers, while strengthening Parliament. The new legislation in turn reduces the Prime Minister’s role to a ceremonial one.

Why was the 19th Amendment introduced? (Have a brief overview):

It mainly sought to weaken the power of the presidency which the 18th amendment had greatly expanded.

The 18th amendment allowed four basic changes:

  1. The President can seek re-election any number of times;
  2. The ten-member Constitutional Council has been replaced with a five-member Parliamentary Council;
  3. Independent commissions are brought under the authority of the President; and,
  4. It enables the President to attend Parliament once in three months and entitles him to all the privileges, immunities, and powers of a Member of Parliament other than the entitlement to vote.

Sources: the Hindu.