COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is constitutionally barred from contesting again to become president has opted to support a proposal to abolish the Executive Presidency concentrating all powers in the elected Head of State and Government.
Rajapaksa's Joint Opposition spokesman, Bandula Gunawardena told reporters here today that Rajapaksa has conveyed this to the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake who has given the proposal to abolish the Executive Presidency.
"But parliament must be dissolved to hold a general election on the same day the constitutional change is approved," Gunawardena said.
The JVP was to move a constitutional amendment to abolish the executive presidency in existence since 1978. However, a decision last week by President Maithripala Sirisena to suspend parliament's current session has upset the plan.
It has to be brought now in the next session of parliament beginning on May 8.
Rajapaksa was elected twice as President. In 2010, he adopted an amendment to the Constitution allowing him to contest any number of times to be president.
Sirisena's current government in 2015 through the nineteenth amendment to the constitution restored the two term limit. This means Rajapaksa cannot become President again.
With his new party's unexpected win in the local council elections held February, the former strongman presses for an early parliamentary poll ahead of its 2020 August schedule.
However, the next election which is due is the presidential election which must be held by January of 2020.