19th July, 2021, The Sri Lankan government enacted a Constitutional Amendment within the first two months of its coming into power in August, 2020. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, so enacted, bears as its central feature the concentration of powers in the Executive President, and thereby erodes several of the democratic reforms introduced by the 19th Amendment. The proposed amendment witnessed opposition from a range of parties including constituent members of the government and several challenges in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. This opposition resulted in several amendments proposed to the original Bill and the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted in October 2020.
CPA released an initial analysis of the changes proposed by the 20th Amendment, shortly after the release of the Bill, observing that the Bill “rolls back democratic reforms introduced by the Nineteenth Amendment in 2015 and are a return to unfettered executive power institutionalised by the Eighteenth Amendment introduced in 2010”.
A brief guide to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is available for reading in English, Sinhala and Tamil.