Lanka seeks to restore presidential term limits
Sri Lanka's government yesterday unveiled a bill that will restore a two-term limit for presidents and ensure the independence of the police and the judiciary, undoing moves by the country's former strongman to consolidate power.
The presidential term limit was removed by Mahinda Rajapakse as he gave himself more control over the administration after winning a second term in 2010.
His successor Maithripala Sirisena came to power on a mandate of reducing the powers of the presidency.
The amendment, presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to parliament, seeks to establish independent commissions to run 11 public institutions and removes the president's power to make appointments to them. Members will vote on it on Tuesday.
In a rare address to the assembly appealing to MPs to pass the amendment, Sirisena said they were "privileged" to support the bill.
"It is a meritorious act," he said.
The bill, however, falls short of his election pledge to scrap the presidency and transfer most of the executive powers to parliament, re-establishing a Westminster-style democracy such as Sri Lanka had before 1978.