The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today urged the politicians to allow immediate transition of power after understanding the gravity of the country’s current situation.

The BASL urged the all politicians including incumbent President, Prime Minister, the Speaker, Parliamentarians and leaders of political parties not to delay the process of transition. 

BASL President Saliya Pieris PC said at a press conference that the BASL wants to impress the importance of the transition process in filling the vacancies without any delay.

“As announced by the Speaker, if the President is resigning on 13th of July, the transition must be done as soon as possible.

The BASL is of the view that there should not be any delay whatsoever to implement the decisions taken at the party leaders meeting on last Saturday (9). We call upon all of them to keep in mind the aspirations and demands of the people of this country which were reflected on July 9,” the BASL President said.

The BASL urged the politicians to understand the gravity of the country’s situation and said they have an obligation by the people of this country to ensure a smooth transition of power.

Pieris said that the country should not be left in a state of uncertainty taking into account country’s current economic situation.

Elaborating the legal and constitutional position which could arise following the resignation of President and Prime Minister, the BASL President said as follows;

In terms of the constitution, for the President to resign, he must address a letter in writing signed by him to the Speaker of Parliament. When the Presidency falls vacant, the Prime Minister would take over as acting President. If the Prime Minister is not able to act as the President it would be the Speaker acts as the President. That is for the maximum period of one month. Within that one month, the Parliament must elect a successor to the President for the balance period of the current President’s term. In respect of the Prime Minister, if he wishes to resign, he must tender his resignation in writing to the President. 

In Sri Lanka we had only one instance before where the President’s seat fell vacant  following the demise of President R. Premadasa on 1st of May, 1993. At that instance, Prime Minister D.B. Wijetunga took oaths as the acting President and the Parliament within one week elected him as the President. 

Meanwhile, the BASL strongly condemned the violance took place on Saturday including the shooting incident targeting the protesters, brutal attack on MTV/Sirasa journalists and burning of the private residence of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

All acts of violance should be thoroughly condemned and should be investigated impartially. All acts of violance by any party in any form at this time will de-establish our country and it will worsen the country’s economy, Pieris added. 

BASL President Saliya Pieris PC, its Secretary Isuru Balapatabendi, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC,  Treasurer Rajindh Perera, Assistant Secretary Mehran Careem and  Attorney-at-law Vishwa De Livera Tennakoon were present at the occasion.