If it does not get 2/3 majority the process will fail

13 January 2016 09:51 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly had not received cabinet approval and if it failed to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament, due to a lack of consensus among the political parties, the entire process would fail, said Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha.

He said Parliament had not taken a decision on the day the vote was to be taken, and Parliament was adjourned till January 26 for further discussion of the resolution. However, party leaders would decide on the day of voting after considering the amendments or proposals, if any, by the other political parties, he said.

He told the media yesterday that consensus has been reached only between the major political parties in the government -- the UNP and SLFP -- with the UNP agreeing to the nine amendments proposed by the SLFP.

He said there was some harmony between the two major parties in the government; but the other parties, such as the JVP, TNA and MEP were yet to submit their proposals or amendments.

For instance, the nine amendments presented by the SLFP did not affect the main Constitutional provisions but only the procedures to be adopted in drafting the Constitutional Amendments or a new Constitution. The resolutions presented by the Prime Minister did not touch on the Constitutional provisions either, he said.

Mr. Mustapha said if and when the Constitutional Assembly was approved by Parliament with a two-thirds majority, it would draft the Constitution or Amendments to the Constitution under the provisions of the 1978 Constitution -- after an across-the-board discussion with all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, academia, the public and the minorities.

Commenting on the hypothetical weaknesses in the proposed Constitution, he said the Constitutional reforms would have to be first approved in parliament with a two-thirds majority and then approved at a referendum. Therefore, there will be nothing to hide and the entire process will be transparent and open to scrutiny by every citizen contrary to the allegations of a few disgruntled MPs in the opposition, he said.

He said bankrupt politicians should not attempt to cause fear in the minds of the people by talking of a ‘Constitutional Demon’ to gain political advantage.

He said, for instance, Prof. G.L.Peiris, who drafted a new Constitution in 2005, as the Constitutional Affairs Minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunga government, did not refer to a unitary state of Sri Lanka but only a republic consisting of regions. e Minister did not touch on the Constitutional provisions either, he said.

Mr. Mustapha said if and when the Constitutional Assembly was approved by Parliament with a two-thirds majority, it would draft the Constitution or Amendments to the Constitution under the provisions of the 1978 Constitution -- after an across-the-board discussion with all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, academia, the public and the minorities.

Commenting on the hypothetical weaknesses in the proposed Constitution, he said the Constitutional reforms would have to be first approved in parliament with a two-thirds majority and then approved at a referendum. Therefore, there will be nothing to hide and the entire process will be transparent and open to scrutiny by every citizen contrary to the allegations of a few disgruntled MPs in the opposition, he said.

He said bankrupt politicians should not attempt to cause fear in the minds of the people by talking of a ‘Constitutional Demon’ to gain political advantage.

He said, for instance, Prof. G.L.Peiris, who drafted a new Constitution in 2005, as the Constitutional Affairs Minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunga government, did not refer to a unitary state of Sri Lanka but only a republic consisting of regions. (Sandun A Jayasekera)
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  • Mason Thursday, 14 January 2016 11:21 AM

    Let it fail. There are more important things to be done than to have a new constitution now. It is not a priority at all.

    BanisMama Thursday, 14 January 2016 09:00 AM

    Of course we know that. We also know you have 2/3 backing with wheeler dealers. SAD!


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