UNP denies submitting Cabinet proposal to abolish executive presidency

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The United National Party (UNP) reaffirms that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe did not submit a Cabinet proposal to abolish the Executive presidency.

There was only a discussion that took place during the Cabinet meeting on the matter, according to the General Secretary of UNP Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.

The General Secretary mentioned this responding to journalists’ queries following an event at a school in Kurunegala.

Recently, President Maithripala Sirisena claimed that the special cabinet meeting was held at a request by the Prime Minister himself and that he had submitted a cabinet paper to abolish the Executive presidency.

However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that President Sirisena himself called him and asked whether to convene a Cabinet meeting on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

He stated that he informed the President of the sentiment of the civil society to abolish the executive presidency and submitted the draft bill on the matter forwarded by the civil societies to the Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers as a reference to be used if needed.

However, the Prime Minister stated that there had not been a consensus among the Ministers on the abolishment of the executive presidency and that this was informed to the President prior to the meeting.

Accordingly, he informed the Minister to the Cabinet, before President Sirisena himself, that there is no use of presenting the draft bill on the abolishment of the executive presidency at the Cabinet meeting as there is no general consensus on the matter, stated Wickremesinghe.

Subsequently, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was not agreed upon at the Cabinet meeting, the Premier said.