UNP appeals to all MPs to refrain from voting for 20th Amendment

United National Party Sri Lanka - UNP logo

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday called on all parliamentarians, including those in Government, not to vote for the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution as it threatens Sri Lanka’s democracy.

“The UNP calls on all Members of Parliament, including those from the Government benches, to vote against or refrain from voting in favour of this Bill which threatens the democratic foundation that Sri Lanka has been built upon,” the party said in a statement.

Issuing a press release, the UNP expressed their concern about the Government’s decision to go ahead with the 20th Amendment despite the Supreme Court’s determination regarding it.

“The United National Party is gravely concerned by the Government’s decision to continue with the presentation of the 20th Amendment to Parliament, and the subsequent debate, despite the Supreme Court’s determination that several clauses of this amendment require a referendum by the people,” the party said.

The UNP charges that the clauses included in the 20th Amendment have not been presented by these parties to the Parliamentary Select Committee prior to this, and therefore these are unnecessary and pose a danger to the people of the country.

“We as a party have continually expressed concern that such an amendment would endanger our heritage enshrined in the Constitution which is the sovereign right of the people of Sri Lanka. The independence of the Judiciary, an independent Election Commission which protects the public’s franchise and the necessity to have a competent and independent Auditor General are all part of our country’s Constitution,” the press release stated.

The UNP states that they oppose the decision by the Government to permit dual citizens to enter Parliament. “The question that arises in such a situation is where would the loyalty of those citizens lie, with their country of birth or their adopted country?” the UNP questioned.

“The passing of this amendment will allow for a precedent to be set which will threaten the inherent rights of the country, including ensuring Buddhism as the foremost place in the country while affording equal rights and protection to other religions,” the statement claimed.

(Source: Daily FT)