The 18th Amendment to the Constitution has been approved with a huge majority.
161 members voted in favour of the Bill while only 17 votes were cast against it. UNP members were not present in the House. The Speaker announced that the Bill had been ratified with a majority of 144 votes. The day-long debate came to an end after the vote was taken up. It is after nine years that an amendment to the Constitution was presented in Parliament. The 17th Amendment was earlier presented in the years 2001 and approved with 210 members casting votes in favour. This included many parties. However, in this case the 18th Amendment had been adopted with members involving the Government Group. A notable feature was the support given by UNP members after crossing over to the Government. As such, it is a notable feature. Parliamentary proceedings came to an end with the approval of the Bill.
The 18th Constitutional Amendment will go down in the history books of the country’s legislature, as the Bill to be approved with such a huge majority. The Government took the initiative before crafting the Bill to appraise all parties about its contents. Thereafter, it received the nod of the Cabinet. The Bill was then directed to the Supreme Court to seek its determination. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced the determination of Sri Lanka’s Apex Court to the House yesterday. The Court’s determination was that it was consistent with the Constitution and a two-thirds majority for its passage in Parliament was sufficient. The Supreme Court emphasized that it was not necessary to go for a referendum. Accordingly, the Constitutional Amendment Bill was presented to Parliament. The vote was taken up after a day’s long debate. The 18th Amendment was adopted in Parliament making the desire of the Government to transform the country liberated from terrorism, “Asia’s Miracle”, a reality. It is a victory achieved by the entire nation.