Lankan Prez Gotabaya said he would consider abolishing the executive presidency; resigned mom


Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, under immense public and opposition pressure to step down in the face of the island’s worst economic crisis, said Thursday that abolishing the executive presidency, a move that limit its powers, will be considered by Parliament.

Abolish the presidential system of governance, in place in the country since 1978, and replace it with a system that strengthens constitutional democracy, has been one of the main demands of the opposition.

In a series of tweets, the president outlined steps to be taken to end the current political stalemate following the resignation of his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday.

Steps will be taken to form a new government to prevent the country from descending into anarchy and maintain state affairs that have come to a standstill, Gotabaya said on Twitter.

A prime minister who holds a majority in parliament and is able to command the confidence of the people will be appointed within a week, he said.

The new government will have the opportunity to present a new agenda and will be empowered to move the country forward, he said.

In addition, steps will be taken to amend the constitution to reactivate the contents of the 19th Amendment to strengthen the powers of Parliament.

Calls from various factions for the abolition of the executive presidency will be considered. With the new government and its potential to stabilize the country, we will have the opportunity to discuss this and work towards a common consensus, the president said in another tweet.

I humbly ask for help in maintaining the uninterrupted functioning of the state apparatus in order to protect people’s lives and their property. To maintain a continuous supply of essentials without allowing the country to collapse at any time, he said, without hinting that he was considering stepping down, as demanded by the opposition as well as anti-government protesters.

His tweets came after he delivered a late night televised address to the nation in which he refused to step down but promised to appoint a new Prime Minister and young Cabinet this week who would introduce key constitutional reforms to limit his powers.

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