The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) adopted eight resolutions at its 11th convention yesterday -- including one calling for the reduction of the Cabinet to 25 members and another to amend the Constitution so as to get rid of the presidential immunity before the next presidential election is held.
The eight resolutions adopted at the party’s convention were read out by its assistant secretary, the Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gamanpilla. These resolutions call for the removal of the Executive President’s power to appoint Supreme Court judges and Court of Appeal judges, to set out in the Constitution the ministries that can be held by the president, to bring in legislation to safeguard Buddhism, and to resettle the Sinhalese who were displaced from the North and the East during the conflict, in conformity with the population ratios in the 1971 census.
It also proposed that the number of deputy ministers should be reduced to 35 and that the president should be made answerable to parliament, that a system of voting that is a meld of the proportional representation system and the first-past-the-post system should be introduced for all elections, that non-career diplomats in the foreign service should comprise only 35 percent of the total, and that those too be appointed in accordance with specified criteria.
Regarding the legal sector, it said a uniform legal system should be applied to the entire country instead of there being different laws for different ethnicities.
It also resolved that prostitution, liquor, casinos, other forms of gambling and “other immoral activities” be banned by law.
JHU secretary, Technology and Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the Sinhalese nationalist forces would be a decisive factor at the next presidential election.
Mr. Ranawaka said the country could not be said to be free of separatists until the Sinhalese who were in the North and the East in the 1970s were resettled in the areas they occupied prior to the conflict.
He urged the government to reduce the powers of the provincial councils so that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would be prevented from using the PC powers to fulfil its separatist aspirations.
He faulted the present regime for having held the Northern Provincial Council election without reducing the powers of the provincial councils.
Elaborating on the JHU’s present position, he said his party had taken a bold step to point out the shortcomings of this government without running away from them. “We are not like the 25 UPFA MPs who were waiting to cross over in 2005 had Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidential election, and not like those who were waiting to cross over in 2007. We will not run away from the government but will fearlessly point out its shortcomings,” he said.
JHU chairman, the Venerable Atureliye Ratana Thera expressed the same sentiments and said it would be possible to bring about vast changes in this country if the nationalist forces acted together. He said JHU had many options at the next presidential elections including the option to field a third candidate.(Yohan Perera)