President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Polonnaruwa District Conference held at Polonnaruwa “Buddhi Mandapaya” yesterday (May 17) asked SLFPers whether they thought it would be right on his part, if he used his presidential powers to extended the term of office of Local Government bodies (Pradeshiya Sabhas).
"I can extend the term by one year and gazette it. If I gazetted 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?" asked President Sirisena.
"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," President Sirisena said.
"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," the President further stated.
Government allocations will be allowed for public development activities but not for personal activities aimed at getting votes, the President said. He said politics will be used to build the country but not to glorify personalities.
Speaking further, the President said he would commit himself to build a new political culture for the benefit of the people. He said that he will represent himself to solve the problems of the people and he will not act on the personal agenda of certain people. He also stated that the people friendly programme will be further strengthened.
The President recalled that the anticipated changes of the people for the last 37 years to remove the unlimited powers of the Executive Presidency have now been made. “Similar to the strengthening of the freedom and democracy in the country, the democracy within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party will also be strengthened to empower the members of the party” he said.