We will not approve Constitution that will harm unitary status: President

President Maithripala Sirisena has told the Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) that the recommendations made by the constitutional sub-committee on Periphery and the Centre Relations were merely proposals, members of the group said on Thursday (22).

Coordinator, Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF), a newly formed organization of Sri Lankan expatriates, Nuwan Ballantudawa, told a media briefing on Thursday that President had assured that the recommendations of the subcommittee on periphery and the centre will not be implemented or discussed in Parliament.

The President had given this assurance when the GSLF questioned him about recommendations made by the sub-committee. “Some of these recommendations including the setting up of a senate, limiting the powers of the governors are going to harm the unitary status of the country. We will not approve a Constitution that is going to harm the unitary status of Sri Lanka,” he said.

Further he said the notion that the recommendations made by the sub-committees are merely suggestions cannot be accepted as they have been appointed for some purpose.

This was in response to an assertion by Mr Ballantudawa that even President Sirisena was of the opinion that the recommendations of the sub-committee were only suggestions. Furthermore, the President said the government does not have the mandate to compile a new constitution. “The United National Party commands 105 seats in Parliament while the SLFP led UPFA has 95.

In these circumstances it is clear that a constitution is being compiled by a government which does not even have a simple majority in the House,” Mr Ballantudawa said. He charged that President Sirisena formed a government together with the UNP by violating the mandate given to the UPFA. “ How can a man who kept away from the SLFP led UPFA during the general election form a government with the UNP?” he questioned.

In addition the GSLF said the powers of the provincial councils should be reduced in order to preserve the unitary status of the country. “As per the 13th Amendment to the constitution a provincial council can approve or dismiss a Bill pertaining to Parliament by a simple majority while a Bill or a statute pertaining to a provincial council can only be approved or dismissed by the House by a two thirds majority.

This clause should be repealed,” the organization said. GSLF is an organization formed by Sri Lankans in countries such as France, UAE, Australia, Japan, Korea, and Canada in September 2016. “We are an organization which is committed to safeguarding the unitary status of the country.

However we don’t have any intention of confronting the Tamil Diaspora though our organization comprises mostly of Sinhalese,” the office bearers said. GSLF is to meet all political leaders including the Prime Minister and Tamil National Alliance in the future, they also said. (Yohan Perera)

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