Written by Tharushan Fernando
12 Jan, 2017 | 9:20 pm
Minister S.B. Dissanayake says that a public mandate has not been received to formulate a new Constitution.
The Minister responding to questions raised by journalists in Kandy noted that the weaknesses in the delimitation have been taken out and the new report of the Delimitation Committee has been presented and that report will be gazetted.
“We will take it up for debate within this week or next Monday.” he said
According to the minister if a particular members of the Joint Opposition hands in nominations it will be given to them.
“Many have already come forward. Quite a couple of people at Pradeshiya Saba level who were with the Joint Opposition have requested for nominations from us and we will be giving it to them.”he said
The SLFP had previously said that President Maithripala Sirisena will be fielded as the candidate for the next Presidential Election but Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that this will not happen giving rise to a sense of contradiction among the factions in the government.
Min.Dissanayake explained that President Maithripala Sirisena said in his election manifesto during the previous presidential election that he will not touch an amendment that goes for a public referendum however there is a clear determination of the court that if the Presidential system is to be changed, a public referendum must be sought
“Therefore we cannot go in for a public referendum.”he said.
He further added that the people of this country have not given a public mandate to change the existing the constitution and formulate a new one.
“We certainly did not ask for one, the United National Party did.”he said and added that the UNP has not been given power by the people to do so therefore an extensive amendment must be looked at.
He further pointed out that the Executive Presidency will be there at the next election as well and the SLFP will name President Sirisena as the party’s candidate.
Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe elaborated on the proposed constitutional amendments today explaining that it is impractical for political parties to make unilateral decisions on whether the Executive Presidency will continue as it is or whether it will be abolished or whether some powers will be curtailed
He pointed out that the decision of the Constitutional Assembly will determine what the final decision would be and there is uncertainty at present regarding the system that should be in place come 2020 because at a time when a constitution is being drafted, political parties are unable to make predictions or reach conclusions on what type of system will be introduced.
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