|Thursday, 1 January 2004|
|Politics||Today's Top Story|
If Government rejects consensus:
President to look fo democratic alternatives
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga replying to questions asked on a live radio program Subharathi broadcast over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation yesterday morning said that if the Government is not ready to arrive at a consensus on core issues facing the country including the peace process, she will be compelled to look for other democratic alternatives to seek solutions to the problems faced by the people and the country. It is those who lack self-confidence that oppose consensus, she added.
Following discussions between them in November, the President and the Prime Minister appointed a Committee of officials to work out practical measures for arriving at a consensus between the Government and the Opposition on core issues including the peace process, infrastructure development, education and the strengthening of democratic institutions.
The Committee has reached agreement on several issues but differences of opinion still exist over several key issues.
Rejecting the accusation made by certain government Ministers that she is not flexible enough, she said she has been too flexible.
She explained how she has even suggested sharing some of her defence powers with the Prime Minister in the interests of carrying the peace process forward.
The Draft Constitution of the Year 2000 could be a starting point for discussions in the search for a negotiated solution to the ethnic problem, she said.
"The UNP has agreed to most of the provisions in that draft. Policy matters that the UNP and the PA could agree upon are more than those that divide them," she emphasized.
The JVP has also stated they would give their support to any set of final devolution proposals that has the backing of the majority, the President said.
She also explained that the Draft SLFP - JVP Alliance Agreement also accepts the necessity of negotiated solution to the ethnic question.
Produced by Lake House