Constitutional reforms : Courts to be allowed to decide on referendum | Daily News

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Constitutional reforms : Courts to be allowed to decide on referendum

The Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly has decided to let the country’s courts of law decide whether the Constitutional reforms require a referendum or not.

A member of the Steering Committee speaking to the Daily News yesterday stated the priority has been given to agree on the substance of the Constitutional reforms and present the draft report before the Constitutional Assembly. “Whether it would be a ‘new Constitution’ or an ‘Amendment’ will be decided later,” he said. However, it is learnt that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a meeting with the Steering Committee members recently had expressed that this was not “the right time” for a referendum.The meeting had been attended by Opposition Leader R Sampanthan, TNA MP M A Sumanthiran, Ministers Malik Samarawickrama, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Rauf Hakeem, Mano Ganesan, Rishad Bathiudeen and State Minister Dilan Perera.

“All were allowed to speak their minds out at the meeting. Opposition Leader Sampanthan very strongly urged for a new Constitution with a referendum, but both the President and Prime Minister were of the view that this was not the right time for it. They asked to concentrate on completing the draft document and place it before the House,” a member who attended the meeting said.

The interim report of the Steering Committee giving the contours of the Constitutional reforms was initially expected in December last year and it’s debate was to be taken up in early January, but was postponed indefinitely as there was no consensus. Steering Committee sources said the SLFP represented by Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha and State Minister Dilan Perera last week “expressively maintained the position that their party prefers Amendments rather than a new Constitution”. However, the UNP, TNA and other minority parties were demanding a new Constitution followed by a referendum.

The SLFP had also expressed that it wants to continue the Executive Presidency and maintain the unitary character of the State. Minister de Silva had said a strong Presidency is needed if power devolution is to become a reality.

Considering these developments, the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) have now agreed to continue the Executive Presidency with minimum powers, if that is what prevents meaningful power devolution.

However, President Sirisena during the meeting chaired by him had stated that he stands by his original position on the Executive Presidency. “I have told the country my position clearly, but my party holds a different view,” the President has stated.

The SLFP had also stated that its prime concern was on electoral reforms. However, minority parties have opposed the move to single out the electoral reforms, adding that any Constitutional reform process must accommodate three main aspects, electoral reforms, Executive Presidency and power sharing.

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka had also expressed the view at the Steering Committee that the Executive Presidency should be retained. Sources said he was also skeptical about power-sharing proposals. However, sources said the Steering Committee has reached a broad agreement on power devolution after lengthy discussions. 


There are 5 Comments

he way to go is to collate the information already gathered from the public and preset a draft to the public for reading and comment. To make it easy for everyone to read and understand the content the English, Sinhala and Tamil version of each paragraph in the draft should appear one below the other. The process should be iterated until consensus reached with majority of public.

Major Constitution reforms should be carried out according to the procedure in the current constitution. There should be no doubt about it. It is already spelt out in the existing constitution. " .....shall become law if the number of votes cast in favour thereof amounts to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), is approved by the People at a Referendum and a certificate is endorsed thereon by the President in accordance with Article 80.". This shows the three requirements necessary

Referendum may be suitable avenue for national issues but when it come to religious racial linguistic issues political processes in the country has altered the concepts of it as society at large media in its wisdom politicians with their self intrest may justifiably or otherwise may have had said done something contrary to national intrest besides parliament has enogh elected members to advice the country by making their decision by voting to maintain the wisdom of the nation to vote for the constitution with a copy available to the media in all language for the public to read understand analyse to support their elected representative to guide in their voting

We are all waiting to see the result of the constitution. It's main purpose as we were told to put the country's past in the back and make it progressive for future citizen. Referendum is a must but society must know every members of the community is not going to read it as it does not a major threat to their everyday life. What the heck nothing is going to change for me I say most of them are right. Everyone in any country wish to be happy contended has dhelter food clothing shelter some employment.past should not be repeated country should not issue open permission to foreigner to establish colonies within the country under the pretext of employment to citizens which by the nature of human nature become slave position to citizens with passing time. Many a matter opinion is done. Think long term politicians will disappear future citizens should be living in a peaceful country.but that is not guaranteed. Linage change rising see global warming global economy will change everything so planning is vital by who you ask every living in the country. Not to worry about country dividing yes we are all divided mentally as the letter say. All must act emotionally mentally socially to kep it united don't blame others


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