Shed party differences, join hands to draft new Constitution, Sampanthan tells MPs

by Saman Indrajith

Opposition and TNA Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan yesterday called upon all MPs to shed their political differences and extend their fullest cooperation to accomplish the task of drafting a new Constitution.

The veteran politician made that request in Parliament when an argument broke out between the JVP MPs and Minister W. D. J Seneviratne in the middle of the speech of MP Sunil Handunnetti.

The Opposition Leader asked the government members not to disturb and delay the resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly.

He said all had agreed that the present Constitution should be done away with.

“Everybody in this country has been campaigning for the abandonment of the 1978 Constitution because it contains many features which are unacceptable. So, what we should do now is to try and ensure that this resolution is adopted by Parliament and that we commence the business of creating a new Constitution.”

Sampanthan said the new Constitution would be drafted with the participation of all 225 MPs. “If you have the interest of the country at heart, you should cooperate to ensure that this resolution is adopted. On the contrary, if you want to delay this matter, prevent it happening or create difficulties please remember that you are doing a great disservice to the country.”

The Opposition Leader said the new Constitution should address not only the issues of the executive presidency and electoral reforms, but also the national question in such a way that it would be constitutionally resolved.