General Secretary of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday vowed never to allow the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to be enacted in its present form. He said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremessinghe was trying to arrogate executive powers to himself by abolishing the executive presidency.
Addressing the media at a news conference at their party headquarters at Battaramulla Ranawaka declared that the JHU would not allow Wickremesinghe to launch a constitutional coup which would plunge the country into a state of instability and anarchy.
Certain elements wanted to make Sri Lanka another Nepal, the JHU heavyweight who helped to topple the previous regime charged.
What the UNP had presented to Parliament was exactly what was in the 1972 constitution and Wickremesinghe wanted to have a figurehead like President William Gopallawa, he said. Rawnawaka said the JHU would support a constitutional amendment under a new Prime Minister following an election. “Ranil is in a hurry to become the executive prime minister, but the JHU will not support any move detrimental to the country. What Ranil should know is that this issue is a decisive factor which will have an impact on the country as well as his own political future.
Pointing out that Wickremesinghe had threatened to dissolve Parliament Ranawaka said, “How can he issue such threats? Wickremesinghe has cheated his own party members but his tactics won’t work with the JHU. He shows one draft to members of the multi-party alliance and then attempts to present another to Parliament and when objections are raised he changes the contents of the first four pages and presents it with the rest of the contents thus hoodwinking the alliance members” the JHU stalwart said.
“The JHU will not support such an amendment,” Ranawaka stressed.
By Harischandra Gunaratna