Sri Lanka to end constitutional ambiguity on presidential term

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a move to amend the Constitution giving clarity to terms of both the president and Parliament, restricting it to five years only, the government announced on Wednesday. The dispute about the president’s term arose as the independent election commission was preparing to announce the poll date for the next presidential election.
The terms for both posts are already five years as per the 19th Amendment since 2015. However, the problem was over Article 83, which said the term could be extended to six from five with a referendum.
A petitioner approached the Supreme Court asking it to define if the terms were five or six years.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the petition which sought a ruling on the seeming ambiguity between 30(2) and 83 in the Constitution, which means, it will be five years only.
The amendment to be introduced now seeks to resolve the issue arising from Article 83 (b) that reads, “……extend the term of office of the president or the duration of parliament as the case may be” to over five years from the present six.
The election commission chief RMAL Ratnayake, who held preliminary arrangements with the police and the government printer, on Tuesday said that the date for the presidential polls could be announced by the end of the month.
The Commission had previously announced that the election would be held between September 16 and October 17.

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