Constitutional Council- Vacancies likely be filled by Oct.10: Karu

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the five vacancies in the Constitutional Council (CC) would be filled by Wednesday from some 15 applications submitted by civil society groups.

Their term of office of six members of the ten-member CC expired
on September 22.

Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Opposition Leader act as ex-officio members of the CC.

Five members are required to be appointed by the President from members of Parliament on the nomination of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Another member must also be appointed from among MPs nominated on the consent of majority of parliamentarians who represent political parties or independent groups, other than the respective political parties or independent groups to which the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition belong.

Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has been appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena as his representative in the CC.

The term of office of Minister Tilak Marapana, W.D.J. Seneviratne, Vijitha Herath, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Shibly Aziz and Radhika Coomaraswamy expired on September 22.

The CC is a 10-member constitutional authority tasked with maintaining independent commissions and monitoring it affairs. It is aimed at depoliticizing the public service.

The Constitutional Council was first established in 2000 under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. In 2010 President Mahinda Rajapaksa established the Parliamentary Council under the Eighteenth Amendment to replace the CC.

President Maithripala Sirisena following his election in 2015 introduced the 19th Amendment and re-established the CC.

The government thinks the constitution of the CC was vital as early as possible with prospect of senior and influential public offices such a Chief Justice, Attorney General and IGP due to fall vacant shortly and as such the CC will have a big job at hand in filling those top posts. (Sandun A Jayasekera)