President’s green light for a new constitution

Apr 01, 2017
President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to expedite the steps towards the formulation of a new constitution, say president’s office sources. The instruction came last Monday (27) when the president had a special meeting with the PM, opposition leader R. Sampanthan, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mano Ganeshan and Risath Bathiudeen. He also requested that all reports of the steering committees on the devolution of power be submitted to him.
Accordingly, by Wednesday those reports were handed over to the president and he gave instructions that a public awareness campaign on the new constitution be launched immediately. He has made the same request to ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga too, the sources say.
Commenting on the argument that a referendum was needed for a new constitution, the president said constitutional experts were of the view that the power devolution clauses could be passed without a mandate at a referendum. Therefore, a new draft could be prepared and submitted to parliament, he said. However, that will mean that the executive will lose certain powers and powers of the position will be curtailed further. Together with that, a constitutional amendment to amend the electoral system too, will be done.
D. Manjula Kumara (Sathhanda)
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