By Yohan Perera

Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) yesterday charged that the proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution would inflict a severe blow to Sri Lanka’s democracy because the new amendment allowed the president to appoint members to the ‘Independent’ Commissions.

CaFFE spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon said the reforms replaced the present 10-member Constitutional Council (CC) with a five-member committee comprising the Speaker, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition as ex officio members but eventually the president would have the final say in appointments to the independent commissions.

“The new five-member committee will only be consulted by the president who will have the power to appoint members to the independent commissions including the elections commission,” he said.

Mr. Tennekoon said under article 55 of the 18th Amendment the cabinet of ministers would be vested with powers to appoint, transfer, promote, take disciplinary action and remove from office the heads of government departments.

“CaFFE strongly opposes this move as it reverses the set objectives of the 17th Amendment and is a blow to democracy and the conscience of our nation,” he added urging the government to hold a referendum before the implementation of the proposals.

Soucrce: Daily Mirror – 03.09.2010