Lanka to Slash Presidential Term to Five Years
COLOMBO: The constitutional makeover which the Sirisena government hopes to bring about in its first 100 days, includes a proposal to slash the Presidential term from six years to five.
This was announced by President Maithripala Sirisena at a public meeting in his native district of Polonnaruwa on Monday.
Sirisena said that he had suggested a four term (as in the US) but the constitutional expert who is working on the changes, said that having a Presidential election every four years would be expensive and a decision to opt for a five year term was made.
Sirisena has already declared that he will not seek a second term, in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had sought a third term and amended the constitution to make it possible.
Justifying a shorter term in office, Sirisena recalled that the first post-Apartheid South African President, Nelson Mandela, had brought about radical reforms in his five year term in office.
Extending a hand of friendship to his electoral opponents, Sirisena said: ” My policy is to consider those who opposed me at the election as friends as Mandela did, and get them involved in the process of building the country.”
He further said that political affiliation will not be a criterion for giving posts in his government.
“Posts will be given to individuals considering their suitability, efficiency, honesty and qualifications only,” he stressed.