Powers of future presidents to be whittled down: Wickremesinghe

 
Wickremesinghe

Colombo: Extraordinary powers of the future presidents will be whittled down, said Acting President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday. He made the announcement at the swearing-in ceremony.

He said that he would reintroduce the 19th Amendment to the constitution for it. Wickremesinghe, who was the prime minister, was appointed as Acting President, as former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country amidst public protests and announced his resignation on Thursday.

He also appealed to the protesters not to resort to violence as the military had been empowered to take action. “I will take immediate steps to restore law and order in the country. I accept 100 per cent the right to peaceful protest. But some people are trying to carry out disruptions. Some others are planning to influence MPs before the election of a new President next week. We will prepare the environment for MPs to exercise their rights independently. They will be given protection. We will not at any point allow any party to sabotage democracy. There are fascist elements who are trying to set the country alight,” he said.

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“I am committed to protect the Constitution. I will never allow any unconstitutional action, or give such orders. I will never work against the Constitution. If law and order collapses, it will hurt our economy. The supply of fuel, oil, water supply and food can collapse,” Wickremesinghe said. Wickremesinghe also invited all the parties to join to form the government. Meanwhile, the Speaker has informed party leaders that nominations for the presidency will be accepted on July 19 and voting to elect a new President is to be held on July 20. Sri Lanka, with 22 million people, is going through the worst-ever economic crisis with skyrocketing inflation. In May, the country defaulted its foreign debts for the first time in its history.