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Draft of the new constitution to be sent to Parliament early next year: Johnston

21 October 2021 08:57 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Yohan Perera   

Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said the expert committee will send the draft of the new constitution to Parliament early next year. 


The minister said this would be a fulfilment of a pledge made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 2019 Presidential election.  


“The making of the Constitution was a complicated process, with the change of times and people’s needs. People voted for us to bring in a new constitution among many other things which we have pledged in our manifesto. During the past one and half years, our topmost priority was saving the lives of people. Now the constitution making process is back on track,” Minister Fernando told journalists after a progress review meeting held at the Ministry auditorium to appraise the ongoing road development projects in Kandy and its suburbs.  


Asked to explain about the government’s standpoint on holding provincial council elections the minister said the elections should be held on time. “Elections are a democratic right of people. We are ready to hold polls and we saw recently the opposition leader too is suggesting that the government should be dissolved and an election should be held. We are ready and we are never afraid of elections,”  Fernando said.  Asked to comment on the ongoing forex crisis, the minister said that it was only a temporary situation which would change in the coming few weeks. 


“We cannot solve this problem by printing dollars, we either have to earn them or save them. That was we had to impose limits that caused shortages and price increases. Now the problem is being solved and its subsequent problems too would be solved in time to come. 


The opposition is all out to make slogans out of this and win political advantage but they would not succeed. For example, the opposition made predictions of deaths and their estimates ranged from 20,000 to 200,000. They said that we would not be able to bring in vaccines. After we brought them they tried to sabotage the vaccination program. 


However the national vaccination drive is almost completed as of now. Sri Lanka is among the top countries in the world in success charts. Similarly, the rice, sugar, gas and other problems too would last only a couple more days.” he said .    

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