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BASL rejects PM’s allegations, says there was no agreement with President

In a media statement, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today (10) rejected allegations made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe concerning the BASL during the Parliamentary sessions which took place on 08 June.

The BASL states that the PM said, “It was the Bar Association which met the President on May 8th and arrived at an agreement with him. That if you restore the 19th Amendment and especially if you abolish the executive Presidency you can continue to be President. This is there in what was brought. Their proposals do not have anything else. They met.”

However, the association has rejected this statement and expressed that it is inaccurate and not a true reflection of what took place.

The Association explains that on the 8th May 2022 the Management Committee of the BASL met President Gotabhaya Rajapakse at the President’s House at his request where the BASL proposals to restore economic and political stability which had already been sent to him were discussed. The BASL also met the former Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and representatives of the the Independent Group of MPs, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the National Peoples’ Power (NPP) at their request to discuss the Proposals of the BASL.

“The proposals of the BASL not only included proposals on the restoration of the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the abolition of the Executive Presidency but also contained several proposals including the formation of a Government of National Unity comprising of a Cabinet of 15 members; the appointment of a Prime Minister acceptable to all political parties in Parliament; a Common Minimum Programme to be agreed upon by all parties and the appointment of a 15 member Advisory Committee,” the BASL says.

Further, it was iterated that there was no agreement reached between the BASL and the President as claimed by the Hon. Prime Minister.

“Needless to say, the BASL is a professional organisation and the question of arriving at an agreement between the President and the BASL never arose. The BASL did not give any assurance to the President that he could continue in office if he agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency and the 19th Amendment,” the statement reads.

The BASL re-iterated that political stability is essential to restore economic order in the country and for that purpose its proposals which has been agreed upon by several organisations including the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce offer a framework for stability.

“As a first step the re-introduction of the provisions of the 19th Amendment should take place without any delay followed by the implementation of a Common Minimum Program to be achieved by the Executive and the Legislature to restore stability in the country and meet the aspirations of the people who are demanding accountability and an end to corruption.” the statement concludes.