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Mar 12, 2017

SLFP persuades president on constitution matter! Featured

President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to bring in maximum possible amendments to the existing constitution through a parliamentary process, in view of the SLFP’s strong objections to a new constitution that abolishes the executive presidency or to hold a referendum on a new constitution.

The SLFP is reportedly planning to seek suggestions in that regard from the constitutional steering committee.

So far, a draft constitution has not been formulated and holding a referendum will be decided as per a Supreme Court interpretation.

The foreign affairs minister told the UN recently that a referendum would be held on a new constitution, while cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne has aired similar views.

Win or lose?

A specialist report submitted to the president has noted that winning at a referendum would not be possible at this juncture.

Academics in the joint opposition say even if defeated at a referendum, that could be passed by the north and the east, and that would allow the Tamil diaspora to tell the international community that the central government was against giving a fair solution for the Tamils.

Pointing to Ireland’s having demanded self-rule from Britain after voting against Brexit, they have told the president that people of the N-E could similarly demand an autonomous region for themselves.

Therefore, the talk about a referendum could be a conspiracy by the Tamil Diaspora, they said.

However, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera has insisted that victory was certain at a referendum.

However, political analysts say a defeat is more likely as the government has so far failed to convince the masses about the need for a new constitution and also due to the prevailing economic woes.

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