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* Sri Lanka parliament postpones debate on 19th Amendment to Constitution
Tue, Apr 21, 2015, 01:17 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 21, Colombo: Following the disruptions of parliamentary proceedings this morning, the Sri Lankan parliament has been adjourned until April 27th and accordingly, the debate on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that was to begin today, too has been postponed.

The decision to postpone the debate has been arrived following an emergency Party Leaders meeting held with the President.

The 19th Amendment will be taken up for debate on April 27th and 28th and a vote will be taken on the 28th, the Leader of the House has announced.

Following the chaotic situation arose in the House due to the protests staged by the opposition MPs over the Bribery Commission summoning former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to record a statement, the Speaker convened an immediate meeting of party leaders.

Earlier the leaders of main political parties in the Sri Lankan parliament have agreed to hold the debate on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in the House today (21) and tomorrow (22).

The party leaders have reached the decision to debate the legislation for two days at a meeting convened by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Monday.

The party leaders have also agreed to proceed with the Supreme Court determination on the 19th Amendment.

Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka told media that the government expects the bill to be passed.

The Minister told the media that majority of the people hope the bill will be passed in the house. The members of the ruling party had detailed discussion regarding the issues pertaining to the debate, he added.

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has determined that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is consistent with the Constitution but certain sections require a referendum.

The Supreme Court had determined that the 19th Amendment is consistent with the Constitution, but several sections of the Bill require the approval of the people at a referendum according to the Constitution.

The government amended the relevant clauses and removed the sections that need a referendum before presenting it to parliament again.

The main constitutional proposals of the 19th Amendment include the transformation of the Presidential form of government to a Presidential-Parliamentary system of government and the restoration of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

The parliament is expected to be dissolved after the passage of the 19th Amendment. Sri Lankan President has said that he plans to dissolve the parliament in May paving way for general elections in late June or early July.


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