Several MPs of the opposition will raise their hands in support of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, but without crossing the floor of the House to join the government, Daily Mirror learns.
The 20th Amendment has already been presented to Parliament. Afterwards, the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and some others have moved the Supreme Court against the content of the bill.
Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has already appointed a five-member bench of judges to hear the petitions.
According to the Constitution, the Supreme Court can determine on the constitutionality of any bill and communicate it to the Speaker. It can say whether the bill should be passed with a two-thirds majority only or referred to approval of people by a referendum in addition to it. Once the determination is conveyed, the government will fix a date for the debate and the vote.
A top government source told Daily Mirror on condition of anonymity that a few opposition MPs who contested the elections on the SJB ticket would vote for the bill, but they would not cross over to the government.
“They will support us while being in the opposition,” the source said.
According to the source, these MPs who are slated to support the government represent the minority communities.
The 20th Amendment seeks to roll back the 19th Amendment incorporated during the term of the last government. It, if enacted, will empower the president with more authority as existed before the enactment of the 19th Amendment in 2015.
The government will move an amendment to the original draft of the 20th Amendment during the committee stage of the debate envisaging that the president can dissolve Parliament after two and half years. It is in line with the decision taken at the government’s last parliamentary group meeting. The bill says the president can dissolve the House after one year.
However, the government members took up the position that it will be too soon for the president to dissolve Parliament after one year, elected for a period of five years. The government members referred to a suggestion previously made by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva that premature dissolution should be allowed only after the competition of the first half of the term if sought by the president.