Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Peoples Alliance and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s main opposition UNP have agreed, in principle, to alter the Constitution to create an Executive Prime Minister post. In 1978, J.R. Jayawardene used his majority to replace a British-style Parliamentary system with a French-style Parliament plus Executive Presidency. Now it seems that Mahinda is using his majority to return to a Parliamentary system and create a powerful Prime Minister’s post which he could occupy, without term limits, as long as he has party support.
The UNP had protested against a proposed lifting of term limits on the Presidency, saying that this would entrench family rule. One anonymous UNP MP said “Can you imagine if we had not had term limits in the past? JR would have never left, CBK would have never left,” referring to Presidents J.R. Jayawardene and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. Now the UNP is seemingly satisfied, though their chances of occupying that Prime Ministership look dim.