Former North and East Chief Minister considers federalism best solution

by Jehan Haniff

Federalism is the best solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem, former North-East Chief Minister Vartharaja Perumal says.

“Federalism will become a reality when the Tamils trust the Sinhalese and vice versa. It is not possible at present. If the new Constitution provides for a devolution model that will pave the way for federalism in time to come that will be enough.”

Political changes of that nature could not happen overnight, Perumal said “It must evolve with even the Sinhalese fighting for federalism. This will come about when they learn that federalism is not exclusively for the North and East or the Tamils.”

The former CM said that he was prepared to work with the President, the Prime Minister and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to find a lasting solution to the issues the country was faced with. “I have had very good relations with Chandrika and would consider it a privilege if she invited me to work with her,” Perumal said.

Perumal has had discussions with several Tamil political leaders on the new constitutional reforms, 13th Amendment to the Constitution and other issues facing the Tamils in the North and East.