Rajapaksa Gets SC Nod to Contest for Third Term
COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa can bid for a third term under the 18th Amendment of the constitution.
The apex court’s determination was conveyed to the President late on Monday night, but its contents were revealed to the public only on Tuesday by the Leader of the House and Irrigation Minister Nimal Sripala de Silva.
Rajapaksa’s decision to go for a third term was publicly questioned by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Sarath Silva, on the grounds that he was elected President for the second term before the enactment of the 18th constitutional amendment, which removed the cap on the number of times an incumbent President could contest.
Retired Justice Silva’s contention was that Rajapaksa had contested and won the election on January 27, 2010, prior to the enactment of the 18th Amendment, at a time when there was a limit of two terms. And a President’s term begins on the day he gets elected. Therefore, Rajapaksa could not bid for a third term, Silva said.
But Rajapaksa’s contention was that he had taken his oaths as President on November 19, 2010, and that his second term of office began only on the day he took his oaths.
And the 18th Amendment had been enacted prior to that (on September 9, 2010 to be precise). Therefore, he had begun his term under the amended constitution when the 18th Amendment was in place.
Posted by Rohan Kar for Android