Proxy Ranil’s impatience to oblige his Mentors
Posted on January 19th, 2016

By A.A.M.Nizam – MATARA

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is in a much hurry to get a new constitution formulated and as per the proposal submitted by him for this purpose in the Parliament recently, in the capacity of the Chairman of the Steering Committee to formulate this so-called new constitution, he will be dominating the whole constitution formulating process.

When the so-called Yamapalana government has utterly failed to fulfill its numerous promises and the people are undergoing numerous hardships due to ever increasing food prices even vegetables becoming a super luxury item, several thousand being deprived of their jobs owing to stalled Mahinda Rajapakse projects, parents unable to purchase school books, exercise books and other school utensils for their children, majority of the people wonder why there is such a hurry to formulate and approve a new constitution and to fulfill whose agenda this is being done and why so many foreign individuals from the hegemonic India, the war mongering United States, the Imperialist United Kingdom, the Tamil proxies Norway and South Africa are making visits to Sri Lanka.

In the proposal made to the Parliament recently the Mont Pelerinist Ranil Wickremasinghe stated that the proposed new constitution is required to provide a Constitutional Resolution to the national issue and promote national reconciliation,

On the other hand as per his proposal the Prime Minister who will be dominating the Steering Committee and other committees could seek the services of ‘any institution’ or individuals for the carrying out of the objectives of the Constitutional Assembly or any committee thereof. The Steering Committee may appoint other ‘experts’ to aid and advise the Constitutional Assembly or its various Sub-Committees. Many people believe that the heads of foreign funded NGO vultures like Pakiyasothy Sarawanamuttu, J.C. Weliamuna, Jehan Perera, Mrs. Nimalka Fernando etc, will become part of this process with the blessings of Ranil.

Another question being asked is why there should be an entire new constitution when even J.R.Jayawardene brought his bizarre Executive Presidential System and the abhorrent preferential voting system as only amendments to Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Republican constitution which has so far survived 19 amendments.

It is also being asked whether the new attempt is to formulate a new constitution something similar to the repugnant 2000 federal constitution proposed by the bandit queen Chandrika who even recently suggested that prominence given to Buddhism in our school text books should be annulled and speaking at a rally in Payagala yesterday said that the system of religion based schools should be done away with.

Meanwhile, the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has spoken last Sunday at a function held at the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita on the so-called new constitution. It was published under the title The Sri Lanka Freedom Party should support the abolition of the Executive.  – Mahinda attempts for a new game with 50 parliamentary seats.”

Since the full speech has been published only in Sinhala,(Lankacnews.com) I give below a complete English translation of the speech for the benefit of English readers.

Quote

The government has taken initial steps to formulate a new constitution.  Since this action could change the entire future of our country, people’s fullest participation should be accorded for this process.

A conflict of opinion has arisen at this juncture on the procedure that should be applied in the process of formulating the new constitution. This is not the first time that revisions are being brought to the current (existing) constitution.  The opposition has proposed that the process of changing the constitution should be carried out in accordance with the procedures stipulated in the current constitution and in accordance with the standing orders of the Parliament.  I believe that this relevant matter can be done successfully by adopting the procedures undertaken earlier in bringing revisions to the existing constitution.  The government should be flexible in this connection.

It was also stated in my policy statement Mahinda Chintana – the roadmap to win the world” presented for the 2015 Presidential Election that steps will be taken to formulate a new Constitution.  Before that in the year 2011my government appointed a Parliament Select Committee to enquire and report about changes that need to be undertaken relating to the constitution and the system of the Executive Presidency.  At present the responsibility of these activities solely rests with the government. The main pledge given by this government when it came into power was the abolition of the Executive Presidential system.  Although it was stated last year that the powers of the Executive Presidency will be curtailed through the 19the Amendment to the constitution, those powers still remain intact.

In the proposal made by the Prime Minister last Saturday taking the initial steps to formulate a new constitution it was emphasized that the basic objective of the new constitution was to abolish the Executive Presidential system and to revise the election process.  All of us should extend our support to get these objectives achieved.

The title of Executive Presidency is a post that led to conflicts of opinion from its very inception.  The Sri Lanka Freedom Party even opposed it when it was created. When the United National Party that created this position itself is presenting a constitutional amendment for its abolition we the members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party cannot oppose it.  Further, it is the nephew of Mr. J.R.Jayawardene who created this post is bringing the proposal to abolish it.

Similarly I should state that this should not be another attempt to make the people fools. If the government thinks that they can subdue thousands of problems being faced by them by making vociferous statements stating the Executive Presidential system will be abolished and the constitution will be modified such attempts will not succeed. The people are fed up by listening to the lies of the government.  Therefore, at least the changing of the constitution should take place honestly. I thought that the government at least will carry out this matter sincerely because the President made a public swearing in to abolish the entire Executive Presidential system in front of the body of the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Thero.

Similarly I think that the matters relating to the abolition of the Executive Presidential system and the revision of the election system regarding which a common agreement has been created in the society since a long time should not be mixed with other matters relating to the changes to be made to the constitution. The process of formulating a new constitution should take place under several stages.  In the first stage the abolition of the Executive Presidential system and the revision of the election system should be undertaken and the other changes should be carried subsequently.

This already has a precedent.  When the Executive Presidential system was introduced initially it was introduced in October 1977 as the 2nd amendment to the 1972 constitution and in accordance with that amendment that Mr. J.R.Jayawardene was sworn in on 4th February 1978 as the 1st Executive President of Sri Lanka. In 1978 the formulation of the constitution was carried out after the establishment of the Executive Presidential system.  The newly created Executive Presidential system was also incorporated into new constitution.   I think that due to the special condition existing in the country today the abolition of the Executive Presidential system should also be carried out under two stages.

Our constitution has 11 clauses that cannot be changed without 2/3 majority approval of the Parliament and a consent given in a referendum. These 11 special clauses can be changed even in a single stroke if a new constitution is fully formulated and a 2/3 majority for such a new constitution is obtained in the parliament followed by consent for it in a referendum.  This has led to the suspicion of many people. The suspicion prevails that if everything can be changed in one stroke clauses harmful for the unitary status of the country could be included in the new constitution.  Due to suspicions of this nature the process of formulating the new constitution could get abandoned.

It is compulsory to hold a referendum to abolish the Executive Presidential system. The Supreme Court has already expressed an opinion on this matter. On the other hand the President has pledged in the Parliament that no change will be instituted to the unitary status of the country and no change will be made to the foremost place give to Buddhism in the country.   Accordingly it holding of a referendum will be required only for abolishing the Executive Presidential system among special 11 clauses. Hence in the formulation of the new constitution it could be divided into two segments and by bringing forward first the matters that need consent in a referendum and the remaining matters could get the approval of the 2/3 majority in the Parliament subsequently.

Some people deem the Executive Presidency as the institution that upholds and safeguard the unitary status of the country in the face of powers vested in the provincial councils due to the opinion expressed in 1983 by the Supreme Court on the 13th amendment to the constitution. Therefore, they hold a fear about abolishing this institution. We should make a indepth study about the powers vested with the Indian President, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Indian parliament (including the Upper House of Parliament of India). If it is necessary these powers should be further strengthened and assimilated to our provincial council system.

Although it is being stated that our provincial council system is based on the devolution of powers of India, a significant portion of powers vested in the central government of India have not been given to the central government of Sri Lanka under the 13th amendment to the constitution.  It should be looked into about these lapses.

Another main promise given to the people of this country by this government in addition to the promise of abolition of the Executive Presidential system is that of revising election system.  It should be reminded that it was my government that introduced up to the local government level holding of elections on the hybrid system of first past the post and the preferential voting system as it had been recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee established in 2008 under the leadership of Mr. Dinesh Gunawardene to review the changing of the elect5ion system. The next local government election will be held based on this system.  What remain to be done at present is to introduce this system for the levels of Provincial Council and Parliamentary elections.   I think that it is better to have the delimitation of the electorates and wards completed prior to introducing the changes to the election system to avoid the disputes that resulted in the delimitation of wards relating to local government levels.

The power devolution under the new constitution should not go beyond the clauses of the 13th amendment to the present constitution. Similarly no attempt should be made to amalgamate provinces.  It should be revisited on the land and Police powers given to provinces under the 13th amendment of the present constitution. As regards land powers under the13th amendment to the present constitution the Sri Lankan government has not been vested with the powers that have been vested with the central government of India.   The Indian Supreme Court in its verdict on the 1962 Court Case titled Indian Central Government vs. the government of the Bengal Province of India ruled that the central government of India under the Indian constitution could acquire any land from any province for its use. But under the 2nd sub clause of the Chapter 9 of our constitution it is stated that the central government should get prior approval from the relevant province if it wants to acquire any land for its use.

It should be made to understand for everyone about the problems that could arise from such a clause.  Therefore, I propose here that the verdict of the 2013 court case relating to the Ministry of Plantation Industry vs. Solaimuttu Rasu should be incorporated into the new constitution. At that time the Supreme Court ruled that the power related to lands in Sri Lanka solely rests with the central government and not with the provincial councils. We must regard it as unique the verdicts issued on this case separately and in combined by the then Chief Justice Mohaan Peiris, the incumbent Chief Justice Sri Pavan and Justice Mrs. Eva Wanasundera.

In the first sub-title of Chapter 9 of our Constitution the Police powers vested with the provincial councils under the 13th amendment to the constitution has been stipulated. If these clauses were implemented the incumbent National Police Service will become obsolete.  It will become entrusted to 9 different provincial Police services to implement separately all activities related to the Police.   A system like can be implemented in a large country like India. The provinces of India are larger than many national States.  Such a thing cannot be implemented in a small coun try like Sri Lanka.  It is only one Police service that is functioning in Tamil Nadu province which is several times larger than Sri Lanka.   I think it is not wise to implement a system that is being adopted on a subcontinent level in a small country like Sri Lanka which is smaller than even the smallest Indian provincial State.  There were many changes of government during the last three decades since the establishment of the provincial council system. But it is because that none of the government leaders implemented the Police powers vested with the provincial councils owing to the fact that it could cause detrimental outcomes.  Therefore, we should act very7 cautiously on this matter.  When formulating a new constitution the clauses in the existing constitution that cannot be implemented should be removed.

I also propose that in the devolution of power the grass root institution such as local government institutions should be empowered as much as possible. I is only if the real power is devolved to village levels the people living in those areas will get the real power. The leaders of the main two political parties have expressed opinion in this regard at several occasions.  In formulating a new constitution attention should also be focused on those opinions as well.

We also should revisit to the 6th amendment to the constitution which was introduced to prevent separatism in Sri Lanka.  It seems that the 16th amendment to the Indian constitution introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru has been much successful than our 6th amendment to the constitution. We should review why the Tamil National Alliance takes certain actions without any second thought which the political party of Jyalalitha Jeyaram of India even dreams of taking such actions. If they were subjected to a something like the 16th amendment to the Indian constitution they would not take such actions.

While looking at certain pronouncements that had been made so far about the formulation of a new constitution, it seems that certain parties envisage the interference of the Supreme Court in this process. They want to know the opinion of the Supreme Court as to whether the unitary status of the country will be changed or not by the new constitution.  Under Clause 120 (a) of our constitution, the Supreme Court loses the right to review a decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers any form of constitutional amendment that should be approved by a majority of 2/3 of the parliament and such amendment should get the consent of the people in a referendum.  Under such a condition many people may get various suspicions.

Therefore, as I stated earlier the process of making this new constitution should be split into several segments and for each such segments the people should be afforded the opportunity of obtaining the opinion of the Supreme Court.  Hence I propose that the Cabinet of Ministers should only approve the stage by stage of the new planned constitution as drafts” for formulating a new constitution as per Clause 120(a) of the existing constitution.  By doing so, naming only as a Draft” under Clause 120(a) the Supreme Court will have the opportunity of reviewing such Drafts”.  I also think that this will be a great solace to the people who are verly much concerned about the unitary status of the country.

I also propose that it is essential to hold an election to get a new government elected after getting the new constitution formulated.

Thanks

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Former President.

One Response to “Proxy Ranil’s impatience to oblige his Mentors”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “The power devolution under the new constitution should not go beyond the clauses of the 13th amendment to the present constitution.”

    NOT ENOUGH.

    13 amendment must be SCRAPPED.

    No UNITARY COUNTRY has CHIEF MINISTERS!

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