Two TNA stalwarts attend Scottish confab on devolution

by Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

Opposition leader, R. Sampanthan and TNA parliamentarian, M. A. Sumanthiran were on a visit to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh to attend a workshop on devolution of power and constitutional reforms in Sri Lanka.

Organized by the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL) and Political Settlements Research Program (PSRP) affiliated to Edinburgh University, was held from January 29-31 in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the International Working Group on Sri Lanka (IWG) of Conciliation Resources and Beyond Borders Scotland.

The key areas targeted at the workshop were power-sharing and devolution which are in line to be included in the proposed new Constitution for Sri Lanka.

Topics under discussion at the confab were devolution of power as a tool of political settlements, national pluralism as normal politics, plurinational constitutionalism and its main principles, the theory of the unitary state and Internal Re-Territorialisation, Asymmetric Arrangements, Inter-Governmental Relations: Indian and South Asian Experiences.

The objectives outlined at the workshop were: To help inform a common understanding between stakeholders of required reforms, based on a better knowledge of current concepts, institutional options and comparative models applicable to the Sri Lankan context, to help articulate a basic framework with regard to the norms and structures for greater devolution that could inform discussions within parties and negotiations between them once participants have returned to Sri Lanka and to help eventually to arrive at a commonly agreed set of reforms with respect to power-sharing and devolution between all stakeholders to be incorporated into the new Constitution.

The speakers at the workshop were Professor Stephen Tierney, Peter Bowling, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Mark Muller, Professor Christine Bell, Professor Michael Keating, Professor Neil Walker, Dr. Wilfred Swenden, Dr. Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Dr. Asanga Welikala and Navaraj Singh Ghaleigh.