Sri Lanka's top court says Presidential term only five years

17 January
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has informed President Maithripala Sirisena that he can serve a presidential term of five years and not six, following an inquiry made by the President last week, the President's Media Division said Monday. Sirisena had last week, sought advice from the Supreme Court whether he could remain in Office for six years despite having reduced his tenure to five through a constitutional amendment in May 2015. Sirisena had written to Supreme Court Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, seeking his opinion and had sought an answer on or before Jan 14. Five months after Sirisena was elected to office in Jan 2015, the parliament passed the 19th amendment to the constitution which states that the President of the Republic shall be elected by the People and shall hold office for a term of five years. Before this constitutional amendment, Sri Lankan Presidents were allowed to serve a term of six years. However officials from Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have argued that since Sirisena was elected in Jan 2015 when the presidential term was six years, the reduced five year-term should apply from the next presidential election which should be held in 2021 and not 2020. Due to arguments from his party officials, Sirisena had sought a clarification from the Supreme Court.

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