" Presidential Powers Now Reduced": Sirisena Requests Public To Shift Their Focus To Appointing Next Prime Minister

While the Joint Opposition is busy preparing itself for the next Presidential election, President Maithripala Sirisena today requested the public to shift their focus to the next Parliamentary election. 

"Under the 19th amendment to the constitution , it is the Prime Minister who hold a bigger responsibility when it comes to the government's affairs. So, electing the right person as the Prime Minister will be the most important decision in the next government. The President's powers have already been reduced and there is not much a President can do'" Sirisena said, while addressing an SLFP meeting in Nivithigala. 

He said the next Prime Minister should be a person who loved the country and its ancient heritage with a strong determination to implement people-friendly state policies. 

"He should also be a person free of bribery and corruption," Sirisena said, indicating that he did not envisage the re-election lf his current Prime Minister, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

The President added that some groups - sometimes even the members of his own government - had got 'too excited' about the Presidential election. 

"I heard a senior Cabinet Minister recently said there would be a presidential election soon. If there is an early presidential election, only I can make that decision. No one else can force a presidential election, if we go by the current constitution ."

"Therefore ," Sirisena said, "I must make it clear that there won't be an early presidential election. No election will be held even a day ahead of the scheduled time."

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