Sirisena tells Cabinet why SC opinion sought To plan development projects accordingly

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By 2018-01-17

By Methmalie Dissanayake

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (16), informed the Cabinet that he made a reference to the Supreme Court, seeking its opinion on whether he could serve up to six years, in order to determine the time periods of several development projects planned, Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe said.

Addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Head Office, Samarasinghe elaborated, "President Sirisena explained to the Cabinet why he sought the opinion of the Supreme Court, on whether he could serve up to six years in office. About two or three weeks earlier he had met several public administrative officers to discuss plans pertaining to future development projects.
During those discussions some officers had told the President that the plans should be prepared until 2019 as his tenure would expire in a year. But, others had said the President can serve until 2021 because he took the office before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted.

"The latter group of officers had informed the President that the people gave the power to him for a period of six years. Therefore, the duration of the planned development projects can be extended to 2021," Samarasinghe said. Adding to that, the Minister further said, "To get to know the real answer to this puzzle, the President had then summoned the Attorney General and asked for his opinion. The Attorney General, after taking few days, had informed the President that in his opinion the President can serve until 2021. However, the Attorney General had advised him to seek the Supreme Court's opinion as well." However, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that President Sirisena's term was only five years. "The President accepted that decision without any objection. He did not interfere with the Supreme Court. This is what we call 'Good Governance,'" Samarasinghe noted.

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