Unlimited Terms for Presidency Good Thing?

September 3, 2010 | By Rakhitha | Filed in: Sri Lanka, Uncategorized.

I am not a political writer and politics is not my thing either. But recent news on unlimited terms for executive presidency made me think. This is not a well thought through post either. I am just putting out some thoughts that came to my mind.

Main argument that I have heard so far is, if a president is good enough to retain majority support among people (lets assume he is not influencing the election result in any way other than doing his duty as the president to meet or exceed the expectation of people) it is unfortunate that such a president will not be able to serve his people longer than two terms. Well that sounds logical.

Also we are in a post war situation where there is a lot to be done in terms of development and reconciliation. It requires to have a continued strong policy and a strong man on the job for longer than two terms. But that is a temporary situation.

Following are the things that are troubling me. To my understanding two term limit is a safeguard to limit a potential dictatorship. Which means even if you rig the elections you can’t stay in power too long to make a serious damage. Removing term limit leaves possibility for a not so good but unethical president to stay in power indefinitely.

Of-course with unlimited terms we secure the service of a good (not necessarily) president for a longer period, but in the same time we prevent a new, possibly better president from coming to power. Specially if that person is from the same party. For example if there were no term limit for presidency at the time of president CBK (Only president who completed two terms after president JR, also only former president alive today) what would have been the chances of Mahinda Rajapaksha running for election? Just imagine how the situation (war, economy …) of this country develop in that scenario.

In my opinion the term limit is a safe guard as well as an opportunity for progress and change direction in every once in a while. And that is what we are throwing away. Or am I getting this whole thing up side down? Any Ideas?


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3 comments on “Unlimited Terms for Presidency Good Thing?

  1. Mathu says:

    Hi Raka,

    But, constitutions are to safeguard people from Politicians who seek more & more power. Constitutions are to control them from exercising unlimited power.

    I heard, read, Constitutions are made considering the WORST CASES, not considering the best cases you mentioned.

    A constitution should prevent WORST CASES not to happen. Because, w WORST CASE’s effect may last for decades, why even for centuries ruining the country.

    As Constitution is the only mechanism whic can save people, from power seeking Politicians, it should consider the worst cases, that’s where the “PROTECTING PEOPLE” means a lot & related.

  2. Rakhitha says:

    Thanks for commenting. I agree. In this case ofcourse the unlimited terms is based on best case assumption which is very dangerous.

  3. Sashika says:

    Variety is the spice of life, and its the call of Nature. Regardless of a good or bad president, being in power for too long makes him much unstable too. Thus the natural human forces anyway change what appears to be “stable” in a very low finite amount of time.