By Lahiru Pothmulla
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who met Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday to discuss the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, said their talks were somewhat successful, although no agreement had been reached about supporting the 20A.
A group of JVP MPs comprising of MPs Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Sunil Handunnetti met Mr. Rajapaksa at his office in Colombo. The former President was accompanied at the discussions by MPs Dinesh Gunawardane and Dullas Alahapperuma.
Speaking to the media after the discussion, Mr. Dissanayake said the discussion had been somewhat successful but needed to be done for an agreement to be reached.
“The opposition leader said he has to discuss the issue with other political parties and only then would he be able to make a definite decision. He repeatedly said he was all for abolishing the executive presidency but the electoral system and other aspects should also be reformed if the executive presidency was to be abolished. Therefore, the discussions were successful to some extent but no agreement was reached on supporting the 20A in its present state,” he said.
He said their stance is that Sri Lanka should go for a system where parliament is given the power to rule as against the one we have now where the executive president holds the key.
“We agree that electoral reforms were needed but there was a general feeling that if a delimitation process was needed to amend the electoral system that would delay an election even further. Our thought on the matter is that we should go for a short-term amendments to the electoral system,” he said. Meanwhile, MP Dinesh Gunawardane said they agreed that the opposition have a policy based agreement that the executive presidency should be abolished only if the electoral system and the 13th Amendment were also amended .
“However, at this moment we cannot commit fully to supporting the 20A. We had cordial discussions with the JVP and the Opposition Leader told them that we are open for more discussions on the subject in the future,” he said.
- A group of JVP MPs comprising of MPs Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Sunil Handunnetti met Mr. Rajapaksa at his office in Colombo