Written by Lahiru Fernando
26 Apr, 2016 | 8:16 am
No agreement has been reached regarding a federal system, says the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The SLFP made this statement in a response to the recent resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council.
Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, submitted a document to the Provincial Council recently, detailing policies that should be considered when drafting a new constitution. The resolution was adopted unanimously by the councillors.
On April 22, 2016, Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran stated that Sri Lanka must be declared to contain two broad linguistic states, much like in India. Wigneswaran says the two states should be made with the Northern and Eastern Province consisting of majority Tamil-speaking states, and the other seven provinces consisting of majority Sinhala-speaking state. He also said that an adaptation of a federal system of government in preference to a unitary system of government is essential “in order to ensure that no one community of people dominate the other nor subordinate them to hold them in dependence on them”.
The resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council:
* The North and East should be established as a separate administrative unit as a Tamil-speaking state.
* Tamil-speaking upcountry Tamils must be identified, recognised and accepted as a unit within the rest of the country.
* Cosmopolitan Colombo area must be recognised to be the Chief Metropolitan Unit of the country, having a separate administration.
The resolution states that the question whether the remaining Sinhala-speaking state needs to be further divided internally, should be decided by the Sinhalese people.
Furthermore, it notes that adequate self-rule must be provided to these state governments, while the agent of the federal government will not be entitled to any executive powers.
The resolution adds that the official and national languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil, while English be the link language.
Meanwhile, JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath says that a Federal system of governance will not in any way be conducive to bringing about national harmony in Sri Lanka. He noted that adoption of such resolutions in a provincial council gives rise to Communism once again.
According to Dullas Alahapperuma, the resolution contains more proposals than to merely merge the North and East. According to the UPFA parliamentarian, another proposal is to establish a Muslim region in the Eastern Province, an Autonomous administrative unit and a separate administrative unit for the upcountry people of Indian origin.
Parliamentarian Alahapperuma also accused the SLFP and UNP members of the government on being silent on the matter.
According to Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mahinda Samarasinghe, SLFP has made a clear stance that it is not in agreement with a Federal System and not even prepared to discuss it. The minister noted that resolutions can be adopted and referred here but there will be no cooperation by the SLFP, not even on the proposal to merge the North and East.
“We have established a strong and stable government in Sri Lanka. Both major political parties are represented in this government. So we will not be troubled over minor resolutions that are adopted at various places”, says UNP General Secretary Minister Kabir Hashim.
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