Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says he could have mediated and ensured through parliament that the term of the presidency would be six years, had the president raised the matter with him.
He made the remark to his team of scholastic advisers who met recently to discuss the uneasiness prevailing in the government.
“What a shame. The president could have discussed this between the two parties before going to the Supreme Court. Had that been done, a parliamentary proposal could have been adopted to allow him to remain in office for six years. Parliament makes the laws. If parliament adopts a proposal, it becomes the law. He went to the Supreme Court and spoiled a matter that could have been resolved amicably. This is a lesson for us all,” said the PM.
Since the SC has determined that the president’s term is five years, the government will have to spend the next two years amidst the election heat. The LG polls in February will be followed by PC elections in March or April. Nominations will have to be called by October 2019 for the presidential election. Only 20 months are left.
However, the PM stressed that he was having no animosity with the president. “We don’t have any ill-feeling. During an election, it is normal at the platform to have a go at each other. From February 11 we will go on with our programme. The president will not abandon us. We will not abandon him either,” he added.