Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Drafting a New Constitution – Separation of Legislature and Executive is a must for checks and balances

Think about it! No one is in charge today. No one will take action, especially if it is unpopular, as they will lose their voter base. Therefore Parliament, and by extension, Government is impotent. MR used his dictatorial powers for his own ends, and not that of the state, so we are unable to return to that possibility by keeping the Presidency in the same guise.

If the Executive Presidency is abolished, due to the inability to trust the person who holds that position to act in the best interests of the Country, what choices do we have. A Prime Minister elected by the people, to represent all factions of people in parliament.

HE ALONE picks his cabinet from professionals and intellectuals (none of whom are MPs) who will be answerable collectively to the Legislature, who confirm his appointment and is able to impeach the cabinet minister by overriding the PM, if they have sufficient numbers in the Legislature, much like in the US. There are therefore assurances of his competence for the task.

The number of Cabinet members and the portfolios, as well as the departments that come under them will be specifically identified in the Parliament. The portfolio will therefore have power to effect changes, Education will come under one Cabinet Minister, so that private, public, higher, and secondary and even Montessori will come under one minister appointed for his competence. Today there are about 16 Education ministers alone, and everyone washes their hands off on responsibility to improve the quality of education, or be held responsible for its state.

I would expect therefore for a Country the size of Sri Lanka, to be run by a PM and a cabinet of 20 ministers, who are specifically responsible for a specific set of Ministries. The legislature and committees appointed by them, such as COPE will have investigative powers over the Ministries to ensure smooth running devoid of corruption.

The most important aspect of Governing Sri Lanka is plan, action, and evaluation of action after the fact, and making suggestions to correct any wrongdoings, or weaknesses. The past year has been evident by inaction, and in my opinion, that is worse than bad decisions that can be immediately identified and corrected. So let us get into the Action mode, by making decisions.

In summary therefore the PM is the conduit in Parliament, between MPs and the Cabinet who are working full time in their Ministries doing their job.   

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