Sri Lanka opposition MP says dual citizens in parliament should resign with dignity intact


ECONOMYNEXT – Legislators in Sri Lanka who hold dual citizenship must resign following the enactment of the 21st amendment to the constitution, opposition MP Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

“I think everyone who holds dual citizenship should resign now with their dignity intact. They have no right to hold this position,” Ranawaka said at a press conference on Monday October 24.

In order to hold a position of authority in a country, he said, one must have a sense of connection and obligation to that country. Anyone who has taken an oath to bear arms in the defence of another country cannot be considered a citizen official of Sri Lanka let alone a public official, he added.

Former government MP Dilan Perera, who is now a member of one of many “independent” factions of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), told reporters on Monday that it was the “kaputu (crow)” faction of the SLPP that had opposed to the 22nd amendment bill.

Perera was ostensibly referring to SLPP organiser Basil Rajapaksa who has US citizenship and is currently in the US.

The MP also claimed that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had obtained the support of some MPs who had initially opposed the amendment by promising to not dissolve parliament until four and a half years had passed since August 2020. But the ‘kaputu’ faction remained resolute in their opposition, he said, over the clause banning dual citizens from entering parliament.

Opposition MP Rauf Hakim, meanwhile, said a right to information (RTI) application can be sent to the general secreatry of parliament to find out which MPs are dual citizens.

The 22nd amendment bill was passed in parliament on Friday October 21 with 174 voting for it in the third reading and only one MP – ruling party legislator Sarath Weerasekara – voting against.

The amendment, now effectively and officially the ’21st amendment to the constitution’, is a diluted version of the 19th amendment which sought to reduce some of the powers of the executive presidency. (Colombo/Oct24/2022)

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