Several leftist political parties to vote for 20A

2020-10-22 at 13:37

Several leftist political parties representing the government have decided to vote in favour of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Accordingly, several leftist parties including the National Freedom Front, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, the Sri Lanka Communist Party and the Democratic Left Front have decided vote in favour.

However, they are of the view that the article pertaining to allowing dual citizens to contest elections must be removed.

The parties held discussions with the President yesterday.

Accordingly, upon receiving a pledge from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said the leftist parties had decided to change their previous stance and vote in favour of the 20th Amendment.

Speaking at a media briefing today Minister Weerawansa said the National Freedom Front earlier agreed to vote against the clause pertaining to dual citizenship at the Committee Stage.

The Minister noted however President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called a discussion and stated a clause preventing individuals holding dual citizenship from entering Parliament and holding other executive posts will be included in the new Constitution which is due to be tabled next year, adding that a statement in this regard will be made in Parliament by Minister of Justice Ali Sabry today.

Minister Weerawansa added the Head of State accordingly requested his party to refrain from causing a division pertaining to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Minister Weerawansa said therefore the NFF reached a collective decision to reverse its previous stance to abstain from voting for the clause pertaining to dual citizenship holders in order to refrain from causing rifts within the government faction.

The Minister however noted his party will maintain its stance against dual citizenship holders holding Parliament seats. Minister Weerawansa claimed a new Constitution will be introduced in 2021.

Also speaking during the briefing Minister Udaya Gammanpila said the only request of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya that was not met was the opportunity for dual citizens to hold a seat in Parliament.

The Minister noted while a public discourse is required pertaining to the matter, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa invited party leaders to a discussion following which the Head of State promised to make a statement in Parliament through the Justice Minister to include the relevant clause in a suitable manner in the new Constitution which is being drafted at present, and will most likely be tabled in Parliament before his second year as President.

Minister Gammanpila stated the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya as a policy is opposed to individuals holding dual citizenship contesting for the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections and will maintain its stance.

The Minister however said as the President agreed to all other requests, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya agreed to the President’s request based on the condition of the Justice Minister’s speech.

Minister Gammanpila said accordingly the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya agreed to support the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.