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Feb 16, 2017

‘A new constitution more important than probing war crimes charges’ Featured

The government should focus on a new constitution, rather than on investigating war crimes allegations, ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga says.

She made the remark during a meeting with foreign correspondents based in Colombo.

Kumaratunga said in answer to a question that if a judicial process began now into the allegations, which nevertheless should be investigated to find out those responsible, there would not be a new constitution.

The SLFP headed by the president is committed for a new constitution, while those in the joint opposition are opposing it, she said, noting the differing opinions on whether it should be a new constitution or amendments to the existing one only.

General secretary of the party Duminda Dissanayake had said that they wanted a two-third parliamentary passage for ‘a constitutional amendment’ as a referendum would be a complex exercise.

Referendum

However, Kumaratunga insisted there should be a referendum on a new constitution, but admitted there were doubts if that could be won.

She said the present regime faced more challenges than she had to face when introducing a new constitution, as extremist groups, JHU, Bodu Bala Sena and a JO led by a former president, all are formidable challenges now.

Answering another question, the ex-president said the north-east people were not much interested in a war crimes investigation, and were worried mostly about their area’s development, jobs, education for their students and the fate of their missing relatives.

She questioned a foreign role in such an investigation.

The incumbent government had no programme to communicate ideas with the public, she added.

 

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