Joint opposition members in Constitutional Assembly

At least there members of the Mahinda Rajapaska loyalist joint opposition group have been included in the Constitutional Assembly’s steering committee tasked with drafting of the new constitution.

In the Prime Minister Ranil Wickreemsinghe headed steering committee are Dinesh Gunawardana, Prasanna Ranatunga with Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena serving as a Vice President.

This was the first time since 1972 that a Constitutional Assembly was set up to draft a new constitution. In 1972 it led to the republican constitution which freed Ceylon form the British sovereign to be independent republic of Sri Lanka.

The TULF in 1972 only made a limited representation in the CA. The Tamil representation in the new CA includes the opposition leader R Sampanthan, MA Sumanthiran and Douglas Devananda. Selvam Adaikkalanathan has been named a Vice President.

The new constitution is to be ready by 2017 to mark the 70th anniversary of parliament, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said last week.

Commenting on the Constitutional Assembly, Jayampathi Wickramaratna MP and the head of the government’s constitutional affairs described it as “a golden opportunity”.

“This will be a golden opportunity never to be repeated as we have both major political parties working together”, Wickramaratna added.

The government aims to formulate a new constitution by abolishing the executive presidency.

The committee headed by Lal Wijenayake who recorded public views on the proposed constitution is to present its report on 30 April.

The joint opposition of Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists have so far not made any indication as to their approach to tomorrow’s inaugural meeting.

Former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa now barred from contesting again for Presidency is in favour of abolishing the presidency.

Two joint opposition members were today given Ministerial posts in the Government.

Manusha Nanayakkara was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Employment while Lakshman Seniviratne was sworn in as State Minister of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile UNP Parliamentarian Palitha Thewarapperuma also took oaths as a Deputy Minister today.

He was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Internal, Cultural and Vayamba Development.