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Feb 13, 2017

Debate over constitution, a ‘war of words’ Featured

SLFP general secretary, minister Duminda Dissanayake says the debate over whether the government will introduce a new constitution or effect amendments to the existing one is only a ‘war of words.’

Abolition of the executive presidency and a ‘constitutional amendment’ are essential for Sri Lanka, but both should be done in accordance with the prevailing political situation, he has told BBC Sandeshaya.

Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Lakshman Kiriella have said recently that a new constitution would definitely introduced, and that a referendum would be held with SLFP support to obtain a public mandate for the purpose.

The SLFP too, is committed for both, as per the pledge given by Maithripala Sirisena at the last presidential election, Dissanayake said.

He noted the Supreme Court ruling that a referendum was needed before abolishing the executive presidency, and said what could be possible would be done through parliament.

The SLFP would aim to get a two-third parliamentary majority passage, as going for a referendum would be a complex exercise, he said.

Susil disagrees with referendum
SusilPremajayantha 300px 17 02 13Meanwhile, minister Susil Premajayantha told a public rally in Kaduwela yesterday that the SLFP was yet to decide if a referendum should take place on a new constitution.

The party would not agree to anything that divides the country or changes the place given to Buddhism, he said.

The president too, has said there should be no referendum for the present and a constitutional amendment would be the way forward, said Premajayantha.

What would be done first is to change the electoral system, he added.

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