Opposition Leader unveils ambitious Legal Reforms at SJB Lawyers meeting

February 14, 2024 at 12:15 PM

Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa has emphasized the Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s (SJB) commitment to abolishing the system of executive presidency while assuring that they will not obstruct the holding of presidential elections.

He made the remarks while unveiling a comprehensive legal reform agenda titled “Legal Reforms for System Change” at an event organized to address the assembly of the Lawyers Association of the SJB.

The Opposition Leader asserted that the current executive presidency system violates the rights of citizens, creating a monopoly that hinders democratic processes. He clarified that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya advocates for the abolition of the executive presidency but will not obstruct the holding of presidential elections.

During the event, the Opposition Leader criticized the government for allegedly violating the voting rights of the people by not allocating funds for local government elections as scheduled. He pledged no support to a government impeding universal suffrage and reiterated that the abolition of the executive presidency would only occur after allowing citizens to express their opinions through an election.

The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the “Legal Reforms for System Change,” which aims to reshape the legal landscape of Sri Lanka. This comprehensive reform package encompasses diverse subjects, ranging from the decentralization of the Court of Appeal to a meticulous overhaul of the offices of the Attorney-General, Public Prosecutor, and Public Defender. It also underscores the urgent need for repealing draconian laws, such as the Counter Terrorism Bill and the Online Safety Bill, and emphasizes a commitment to transparent and fair legal processes. The document reflects the Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s dedication to fostering a legal system that serves the interests of the people and upholds democratic values. As the party champions these bold reforms, it invites a national discourse on the future of Sri Lanka’s legal framework, encouraging collaboration and engagement from citizens and legal professionals alike.

MP Sajith Premadasa, addressing the Lawyers Association, affirmed that individuals attempting to abolish the executive presidency for personal gain would not be tolerated, emphasizing that national interest should prevail over personal agendas.

Addressing concerns about the independence of the Constitutional Council, the opposition leader declared that its members are not puppets of the President. He emphasized the council’s role in limiting the powers of the Executive President and ensuring impartial, correct, and independent decisions.

The Opposition Leader outlined the economic policy of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, emphasizing a bottom-up development approach. He stated that the party aims to generate resources through humanistic capitalism, promoting fairness, social justice, and equality.

MP Premadasa also touched on the importance of protecting democracy, preserving the rule of law, and revisiting fundamental rights within the Constitution. He proposed expanding the interpretation of fundamental rights to include new concepts such as health and education.

On the issue of corruption, he called for a new methodology, advocating for anti-corruption institutions with a constitutionally protected framework. He expressed a commitment to recovering stolen national assets and vowed not to make deals with those responsible for the country’s economic downturn.

Addressing concerns over anti-democratic laws, the opposition leader promised to revise such legislation if the Samagi Jana Balawegaya comes to power. He declared the intention to prioritize truth and freedom of expression, collaborate with stakeholders, and pass legislation that strengthens national security without compromising democratic rights.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s ‘Legal Reforms for System Change’ – SJB’s proposed Legal Reforms (NewsWire)