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Sri Lanka: Blatant lies of President Sirisena

Ranil Wickremesinghe is Prime Minister based on the peoples’ votes given to the UNF, not to the National Government






by Harsha de Silva

( November 1, 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The schemers behind the #coupLK claim that when the UPFA quit the National Government, the Cabinet was automatically dissolved, giving the President the right to sack the Prime Minister.

Is this true? No.

Two reasons why not:

Firstly, it is against the Constitution:

According to Article 48(2) of the 19th Amendment, Parliament can only dissolve Cabinet by (i) rejecting the Govt Policy Statement, (ii) rejecting the Appropriation Bill, or (iii) passing a no-confidence motion. None of these things have happened.

According to Article 48(1), Cabinet is also dissolved if the Prime Minister stops holding office. My earlier post explains why this has not happened either.

The Constitution only mentions National Governments in Article 46(5), where it defines the term, and Article 46(4), where it says the creation of a National Government gives Parliament the right to determine the number of Ministers.

So, there is nothing in the Constitution to say the end of a National Government leads to the dissolution of Cabinet.

Secondly, it is against the peoples’ mandate:

On 17 August 2015, the UNF (led by the UNP) won the General Election.

On 21 August 2015, Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister based on the strength of that win.

It was only on 02 September 2015 that the UPFA joined the UNF to form a National Government (that was the day Parliament increased the number of Ministerial seats).

So Ranil Wickremesinghe is Prime Minister based on the peoples’ votes given to the UNF, not to the National Government (which did not even exist when he was made PM).

On 26 October 2018, when the UPFA left the National Government, we returned to being a UNF government (as we were from 17 August to 02 September 2015).

The end of the National Government only impacts the Cabinet in one way: the number of Cabinet Ministers must decrease to 30, according to the limits set in the 19th Amendment.

The National Government is over, but the Cabinet is not dissolved.

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