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Sri Lanka's Parliament debates constitutional amendments to clip powers of the president

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's Parliament debated constitutional amendments Monday to clip the extensive powers given to the country's president, a promise President Maithripala Sirisena made in the run up to his January election win.

Sirisena made the opening speech urging lawmakers to be part of his effort to introduce democratic reforms.

The bill will bring back a two-term limit for a president and remove his or her powers to appoint judges, police and public officials, and give them to independent commissions. The president will also not be able to dissolve Parliament at his or her will.

To pass, the amendments need two-thirds of the votes in the 225-member Parliament, but lawmakers loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa may prevent their passage.

Rajapaksa scrapped the term limit for the president and took over powers to appoint officials during his presidency.

Voting on the amendments will take place Tuesday.

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