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New constitution for the sake of our people; why fear it? - President

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New constitution for the sake of our people; why fear it? - President

January 9, 2016  11:31 am

“Our effort is to formulate a constitution which meets the needs of 21st century,” says President Maithripala Sirisena.

President Sirisena made the observation while delivering a special statement, regarding the drafting of a new Constitution, this morning (09).

He went on to say the new constitutional reform will bring no harm to the country’s main religion and there is no move to reorganise the country’s security forces as well.

President Sirisena, during his speech, slammed those who attempt to take advantage of the new idea to formulate the new constitution. “People in the South are afraid to hear the word ‘federal’ while people in the North fear the word ‘united’. Some try to take advantage of this,” said the President.

He stressed that the constitution of a country should be amended timely and accordingly as per the needs of the people. The President also dismissed claims of any foreign involvement in the process of formulating the constitution.  

President Sirisena also pointed out limitations and defects of the earlier constitutions of Sri Lanka, including terms included in reforms introduced by the Soulbury Commission, resulted in conflicts among communities. “While having a two-third majority in parliament, we had many chances to make changes to the constitution,” he added.

The President said the new constitutional reform will give a special consideration to abolish the executive powers of the president as well.

We want to give birth to a beautiful constitution “child” to build the modern Sri Lankan state, he said. 

“Why is there disturbance and tension when talking about a constitution? Should we all not act by using intelligence, knowledge, understanding, experience and open–mindedness?” he asked. 

He stated that the Parliament is the only place responsible for the future of the country and therefore all members should act with better understanding regarding this matter. 

The President said he believes that the country missed several opportunities to uplift the country such as when parliament possessed two-thirds majority in 1970, 1977 and 2010 when post-war peace was being achieved. 

The power of a two-thirds majority should have been used to look into the reasons for the war in the country and to prevent it from reoccurring but instead it was used to pass the 18th amendment to the constitution, he stated. 

“As political parties we have different opinions between us but why can’t we discuss and come to an agreement for the country?” 

We have to remember the experiences obtained from the situation which prevailed in 1956, from the  Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact, the Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact, ‘Black July’ in 1983 and the Indo-Lanka Accord, the riots in 1971, the incidents in 88-89 and also from the LLRC report, Sirisena said. 

“Most of the time we limit ourselves to criticism,” he said. He rejected claims that the constitution is being formulated according to the advice of foreign nations. “As far as I know neither the Prime Minster nor anyone in the government have been told by foreign countries how the constitution should be prepared.” 

The President urged everyone to refrain from creating tension in the country and spreading false information with regard to the new constitution. “Certain individuals are attempting discomfort the government by spreading false rumours.”

He stated that this has always happened when the constitution is being amended and that those who love the country are never part of it. “These attempts are especially made by extremists sections.”


 

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