Constitution will not be a hindrance – PM

2019-01-11 at 13:49

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the proposed new Constitution will not have any negative implications on the priority granted to Buddhism and the unitary state of the country.

Presenting the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform’s report compiled by an Expert Committee, on proposals pertaining to the new Constitution before the Constitutional Assembly, the Prime Minister said the opinions of all parties will be considered.

He said introducing a Constitutional draft or divisions within a country were not a concern adding politically destitute people are trying to take such claims forward as today they have no other topic to talk about.

The Prime Minister said the opinions of all parties will be considered.

He said the 9th Article regarding Buddhism was included in the 1972 Constitution by the committee led by Former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, further remarking it is unlikely that there is anyone who wants to change this.

The Premier said everyone wishes the article remain the same. He also said a unitary state concept has been accepted by many and there are varied opinions and those must be discussed.

The Prime Minister said a federal state concept does not exist and they must decide on power devolution in a unitary state.

The Prime Minister said further discussions are necessary pertaining to the matter of the Executive Presidency.

The Premier said now the abolishment of the Executive Presidency must be discussed, as there is nothing that will lead to divisions or that will ruin the status of Buddhism.

He said the UNP is clear that the new Constitution should protect these two facts.

The Prime Minister said factions levelled various charges during the end of 2018, however he stressed there is nothing negative regarding them matter.

He said he doubts that a majority will even read the report, adding however the report is now vested with the Assembly and the Assembly will decide on what needs to be done.

The Premier said their responsibility is complete, adding the parties must now discuss the report.

He noted there is a common agreement on several facts and now all must decide on how to move forward.

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa also stated that all factions must work in a manner that does not incite racism or hatred among communities to which Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also responded.

The former President said just as the Sinhalese people do not have any right to step on another race; other races also have no right to step on anyone else.

However he remarked all sides must be brought to a place where they are united, as if they are not united then a Constitution cannot be taken forward.

The Opposition Leader said if only a single race is granted their rights this results in resentment from others races which must be prevented.

In response Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said MP Rajapaksa stated people must not be allowed to walk over and lord over others and all must work for the sake of the people regardless of differences.

The Premier said he too accepts and agrees with the stance as they must prevent hatred amongst races.

Therefore the Prime Minister said he proposes according to the Opposition Leaders proposal that the Constitutional Assembly must hold a debate on the matter.