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President pledges new Constitution based on ‘one country, one law’ principle

21 August 2020 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Vows to boost local production and root out waste and corruption
  • Explains rationale behind allocation of Ministries 
  • New electoral system to be enacted 

By Yohan Perera

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his inaugural address to the ninth Parliament yesterday, pledged to bring about a new Constitution envisaging the principle ‘One country, One law’ for all ethnic communities. He said the 19th Amendment to the Constitution would be scrapped. He said a new electoral system would be evolved in this exercise to enable the formation of stable governments in the future instead of weak governments beholden to the demands of extremist parties.   

The President said the constructive features of the present electoral system of proportional representation would be retained in working out the new system.   


“The basis of the success of a democratic state is its constitution. Our Constitution, which has been amended 19 times, from its inception in 1978, has many ambiguities and uncertainties, presently resulting in confusion. As the people have given us the mandate we sought for a constitutional amendment, our first task will be to remove the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. After that, all of us will get together to formulate a new constitution suitable for the country. In this, the priority will be given to the concept of one country, one law for all the people,” the President said.  


“An unstable Parliament that cannot take firm decisions and succumbs to extremist influences very often is not suitable for a country. While introducing a new constitution, it is essential to make changes to the current electoral system. While retaining the salutary aspects of the proportional representation system, these changes will be made to ensure stability of the Parliament and people’s direct representation,” he added.  


“I love my country. I am proud of my country. I have a vision for my country. Our ardent desire is to build a prosperous nation with a productive citizen, contented family and a righteous society. What we have done so far as well as the plans we propose to implement in future will be aimed at achieving this objective. We have arrived at an important landmark in history. The people have given the current government a massive mandate. We have been given the responsibility to take the country towards prosperity while safeguarding the people and protecting the sovereignty of the country without succumbing to any force. The present generation must fulfil that responsibility for the sake of the future generations. This is the Motherland of all of us. 


Hence, the time has come for all of us to join hands for the sake of the country irrespective of race, religion or party differences. In the current political culture, most of the people’s representatives, after they get elected, neglect the prime duty of going to the people. When I travelled round the country in the recent past, this was confirmed by the people who voiced their grievance on this matter. Henceforth, ministers, state ministers as well as members of Parliament will fulfil this expectation of the people by visiting them often to understand their issues and find solutions to their issues. Constantly I will review the progress of the achievement of the goals of the Government that are implemented through Ministries and the public sector. 


If I find any Ministry failing to achieve its set targets, I will not hesitate to effect necessary changes to implement policies of the Government. In the National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, we promised the people that we would eradicate waste and corruption. This is a core responsibility for all of us. We will take steps to completely eradicate waste and corruption in all the Ministries and institutions. In future I will not hesitate to enforce the law against those who are involved in fraud and corrupt actions, irrespective of the status of any such perpetrators,” he also said.  


The President then explained the rationale behind the allocation of ministries in the new cabinet and said the following. “Parents request for their children’s education suitable schools. The shortage of national schools was evident in every area. Most schools have significantly inadequate facilities. Shortage of teachers, laboratories and lack of facilities were frequently mentioned. 


Although we request the children to follow science and technological subjects in order to successfully contribute to the economy, their schools do not have facilities to teach those subjects. We will accord priority to those issues through ministries assigned with new responsibilities. 


We have ascertained the requirement of people centric economy for our economic revival. When forming ministries, special attention was given in assigning their subjects and tasks to cover fields such as agriculture, plantation, fisheries, traditional industries and promotion of self-employed job opportunities which affect most of the people in the country,” he said.  

 

  • Our Constitution, which has been amended 19 times, from its inception in 1978, has many ambiguities and uncertainties, presently resulting in confusion
  • unstable Parliament that cannot take firm decisions and succumbs to extremist influences very often is not suitable for a country

 


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