By Kelum Bandara
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who met today have agreed to continue talks on constitutional reforms and also reached a consensus in principle to abolish the executive presidency and replace it with an executive premiership
responsible to the Parliament
The two leaders, flanked by senior members of their parties held talks today at Temple Trees on electoral reforms and constitutional changes.
Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Wickremesinghe stated at a press conference that the two parties would continue the dialogue this week and discuss issues on a priority basis. He said that talks would be conducted today on the new local government election system.
“We will try to reach a consensus on the election system. It will be used as a pilot project for the introduction of electoral reforms which seek to do away with the present parliamentary election system,” he said.
Under the proposed electoral reforms, the UNP Leader said, the two parties would try to introduce a mixed system of the present Proportional Representation System and the First-past-the post system for parliamentary elections.
He added that views were exchanged in regard to the independent commissions.
“We want to introduce a people friendly constitution. We will push for it. While having negotiations with the government, we will carry out our agitation campaign demanding such constitutional reforms and the lowering of the cost of living,” he said.
In this exercise, Mr. Wickremesinghe said, the media had a great role to play in initiating a public debate on the proposed constitutional reforms.
“I think there is a golden opportunity for media. The media should grab it and initiate a public debate. Don’t leave it upon us alone! Whenever there is a media debate, fresh ideas can emerge. It will be a help to us. We will do our job on behalf of the people,” he said.
Pix by Sudath Silva