demands of protesters
Sri Lanka reduces presidential powers
The parliament of the crisis-ridden state of Sri Lanka has spoken out in favor of curtailing the president’s powers. A large majority of MPs approved a corresponding amendment to the constitution on Friday evening – 174 out of 225 MPs voted in favor.
ARCHIVE – Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of Sri Lanka, is received with military honors at Parliament House in August. Photo: Eranga Jayawardena/AP/dpa
With the constitutional amendment, Parliament will have more say in appointing key posts in the judiciary, central bank and government. So far, the president has been able to make decisions alone.
The reduction of the president’s powers was a key demand of protesters whose mass demonstrations over the summer had led to ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s flight abroad and his resignation. The protesters accused Rajapaksa and his long-time politically influential family of abuse of power and bad decisions that led to the island nation south of India’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Due to a lack of currency reserves, the country with its approximately 22 million inhabitants cannot repay its national debt. The population has been struggling with bottlenecks for months, and food prices have risen sharply.
Current President Ranil Wickremesinghe had spoken out in favor of political reforms. He also managed to reach a tentative agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a four-year, $2.9 billion (€2.9 billion) bailout program.