Proposed constitutional reforms could lead to Catalonia-style split: MR
October 16, 2017 05:24 pm
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today urged the government to abandon its ‘destructive’ proposal for a new constitution and to bring forward proposals to implement the original constitutional pledges they made.
He said that the government has tabled in Parliament, proposals for a new constitution and that however the constitutional reform pledges made by the Yahapalana coalition at the last presidential election was restricted to changing the system of elections and abolishing the executive presidential system.
“This government never received a mandate to repeal and replace the existing constitution.” He stated that they are completely opposed to certain proposals made in the interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly.
One such is the proposal that the Sinhala word ‘ekeeya’ be retained in the Sinhala version of the proposed new constitution, while the English word ‘unitary’ will be dropped from the English version together with the conceptual framework it denotes.
“Thus the local population will be under the impression that Sri Lanka still remains a unitary state, but in the eyes of the international community, we will be considered a country that has relinquished unitary status.”
“That such chicanery can even be contemplated is indicative of the mentality of the people driving this constitutional reform process,” he said, issuing a statement to the media.
He also claimed that the interim report includes several provisions which can be abandoned at the last moment as bargaining points, such as amending Article 9 of the present Constitution which accords the foremost place to Buddhism and include in Article 7, the Tamil version of the national anthem.
“Everyone knows that the Yahapalana government has mastered the art of constitutional and legal deception and dissimulation,” he charged.
Rajapaksa says that the objective of the government at this point in time, is not to change the provisions relating to Buddhism or the national anthem but to change the structure of the Sri Lankan state from unitary to federal.
“The purpose of these constitutional proposals is to meet commitments made to the local and international forces that helped them to capture power in January 2015.”
“The proposed constitutional reforms if implemented will put in place the legal and conceptual framework needed to have in Sri Lanka a Kurdistan or Catalonia-style referendum for independence at a future date.”