Prez in powwow with civil society reaffirms commitment to abolishing presidency-… stresses need to finalise draft Constitution soon

Prez in powwow with civil society reaffirms commitment to abolishing presidency-… stresses need to finalise draft Constitution soon

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by Shamindra Ferdinando-
Civil society groups are planning to intensify their campaign in support of constitutional reforms including the abolition of executive presidency.

Co-convenor of Purawesi Balaya Gamini Viyangoda yesterday told The Island that they would launch a campaign at the village level after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Viyangoda emphasised that the abolition of the executive presidency was on top of their agenda and all those who had genuinely worked for common candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the January 8, 2015 presidential poll steadfastly pushed for abolition of the executive presidency.
When The Island pointed out that an influential section of the SLFP as well as other yahapalana elements strongly opposed the abolition of the executive presidency, Viyangoda said that President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the leader of the SLFP had recently reiterated his commitment to do away with executive powers.
Several SLFP Ministers including Social Empowerment and Welfare minister S.B. Dissanayake and Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera have already declared President Maithripala Sirisena as the SLFP presidential candidate at the 2020 poll.
Viyangoda said that a civil society delegation comprising Convenor of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya, Ravaya editor attorney-at-law K.W. Janaranjana and him had met President Maithripala Sirisena last Wednesday to discuss constitutional reforms. Responding to a question, Viyangoda said: “Yes, we were reassured by President Sirisena that he was determined to abolish the executive presidency.”
President Sirisena has told them that they shouldn’t be disturbed by various declarations being made in respect of constitutional reforms. President Sirisena has reassured the civil society organisations that he remained committed to the abolition of the executive presidency.
Those who had campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential polls had received blessings to carry out an intensified project to secure the electorate’s support for a new constitution, Viyangoda said.
The Constitutional Assembly last year received the reports of the six sub committees pertaining to Constitutional reforms.
Viyangoda noted that the Geneva Resolution 30/1, too, had made reference to constitutional reforms and discussed the implementation of the project. Sri Lanka last month received two more years to fully implement the Geneva Resolution.
Viyangoda said that political parties represented in parliament couldn’t absolve themselves of the responsibility in finalizing the draft constitution by playing politics with the issue.
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