At a meeting held Sunday, President Sirisena asked, SLFP supporters whether they thought it would be right on his part, if he used his Presidential powers to extend the term of office of Local Government bodies (Pradeshiya Sabhas).
“I can extend the term by one year and gazette it. If I gazette the extension of Pradeshiya Sabhas, what sort of an influence would it have brought upon the people’s right to vote to elect their members to a Local Government after the end of its official term, following a period of four years?” President Sirisena was quoted saying.
“The Constitution clearly sets out that the term of office of a Local Government is four years. Following that, voters can elect a new council. What this means is by extending the term of office of the Local Government, you also take away the rights of the voters with it,” said the President.
“This is one change. There shall be no misuse of power. If there were instances to that effect in the past, I am going to rectify them,”
Government allocations will be allowed for public development activities but not for personal activities aimed at getting votes, the President said.
He said politics would be used to build the country but not to glorify personalities.
The President recalled that the anticipated changes of the people for the last 37 years to remove the unlimited powers of the Executive Presidency is now complete.