Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on whether he could hold office until 2021, apparently contradicting a Constitutional Amendment — stipulating a five-year term — that was passed after he assumed charge in 2015. The issue will be argued in open court on Thursday, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
On Monday, Mr. Sirisena, in a written reference, asked the Chief Justice if there is any impediment barring him from continuing in the office for six years.
The 19th Amendment was adopted by the Parliament less than four months after the Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe coalition rose to power in January 2015.
With 215 out of the 225 lawmakers voting in its favour, the amendment was hailed as a key legislation that clipped some executive powers of the President and restored independence of institutions.
It envisaged a five-year term for the President, in addition to placing a two-term limit on presidency. It was the first and the most significant reform initiative of the government taken to honour the election promises.
Mr. Sirisena has, on many occasions since coming to power, promised to abolish executive presidency, amid considerable pressure from his party to retain it.