EXCLUSIVE: President Sirisena Runs The Risk Of Impeachment Over 6 Year Term: UNP, JO Indicate Support

President Maithripala Sirisena runs the risk of being impeached if he continues in office for more than five years, Asian Mirror reliably learns. 

Initial discussions in this regard have started within the UNP camp. The Joint Opposition, led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has also indicated that it will support the initiative, a highly placed source within the UNP camp told Asian Mirror on Saturday. 

However, the charges upon which the impeachment motion will be based are still not clear. However, our sources that the UNP was of the strong belief that the incumbent president had no right to continue in office for more than five years.

"It is now clear that the President is not willing to work hand in hand with the UNP. This has almost come to the breaking point. Now, it is up to the UNP MPs to decide what they are going to do next," a highly influential Cabinet member representing the UNP said.

He said the Amendment’s transitional provisions explicitly stated that the five-year term, introduced by the 19th Amendment to the constitution, limit applied equally to the sitting President:

"Section 49(1)(b) of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution: For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that … the persons holding  office  respectively,  as  the President  and  Prime  Minister  on  the  day  preceding April 22, 2015 shall continue to hold such office after  such  date,  subject  to  the  provisions  of  the Constitution as amended by this Act."

However, the UNP has 105 members in the House. The two MPs, namely Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Athuraliya Rathana Thera, who came to Parliament on the UNP ticket function as independent members. The Joint Opposition has the support of nearly 50 MPs representing the house. Only 45 members representing the SLFP support President Maithripala Sirisena in the House.

"If the two groups decide to back an impeachment motion," he said, "it will be passed in the House with a resounding majority, even without the support of any other political parties."

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