Constitution making process: JO spells out non-negotiable conditions, urges govt. to reveal UNP-SLFP proposals
Posted on December 22nd, 2016

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

The Joint Opposition yesterday stressed that its participation in the ongoing constitutional making process would be subject to 14 non-negotiable conditions.

The JO grouping comprises 51 members of parliament elected on the UPFA ticket at Aug 17, 2015 parliamentary polls.

JO leader Dinesh Gunawardena and former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said that the JO had explained its position to the government, which, they said, was divided over the proposed constitutional reforms.

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Prof. Peiris highlighted the sharp differences between the UNP and the SLFP on key features including the status of executive presidency. In addition to constitutional reforms, the JO addressed several issues at the media briefing at the Dr N. M. Perera Centre.

Prof. Peiris said the UNP and the TNA had been pursuing a common strategy in respect of a referendum on the proposed constitution whereas the SLFP under President Sirisena’s leadership called for a two-thirds majority in parliament for constitutional reforms sans approval at a referendum. Prof. Peiris said the UNP and the President were still undecided on whether they wanted a brand new Constitution or just amendments to the existing one.

The JO conditions included unitary status, special status for Buddhism, no re-merger of the Eastern Province with the Northern Province, non-devolution of police powers, provision for the cetnre to utilise land in any part of the country, retention of the Concurrent and the government’s right to intervene in any province in matters concerning public security.

Prof. Peiris said that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition should present its proposals before asking others to do so.

MP Gunawardena said the government’s decision to co-sponsor a Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015 on accountability issues should be taken into consideration when studying constitutional reforms. MEP leader Gunawardena said the Geneva Resolution was aimed at facilitating a federal solution at the expense of Sri Lanka’s unitary status.

Gunawardena said that since the change of government in January 2015, the JO had been resisting the ruling coalition’s efforts to promote separatism, both inside and outside Parliament. “The JO recently briefed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and TNA leader R. Sampanthan on its stand. We reiterated our stand that these conditions cannot be diluted.”

The former President had participated in the discussion, MP Gunawardena said, stressing that the JO participated in the process as the genuine opposition in Parliament.

The MEP leader faulted the Speaker for recognising Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan and Anura Kumara Dissanayake as the Opposition Leader and Chief Opposition Whip, respectively, in a bid to deprive the JO of its rightful position in Parliament. MP Gunawardena said the JO had 51 members of Parliament whereas even the TNA-JVP combine had only 22 members.

Prof. Peiris and Gunawardena said that a three-day parliamentary debate in second week of January, 2017 would give the JO an opportunity to inform the electorate of the constitutional reforms process. MP Gunawardena said that there wouldn’t be a vote on the subject.

Prof. Peiris said that the UNP had repeatedly promised to bring in electoral reforms through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The SLFP’s support for the 19th Amendment had been subject to the subsequent passage of the 20th Amendment in accordance with all party consensus, Prof. Peiris said, alleging that the promise hadn’t been fulfilled.

10 Responses to “Constitution making process: JO spells out non-negotiable conditions, urges govt. to reveal UNP-SLFP proposals”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    So, what are these CONDITIONS SPELLED OUT by the JO?

    Why are they SUCH A SECRET and with-held from concerned citizens?

    Do your CONDITIONS include,

    1. PRESERVING the EXECUTIVE presidency?

    2. REPEALING the 13th Amendment as an ILLEGALITY imposed by India on Sri Lanka?

    3. DISSOLVING the Provincial Councils?

    4. REPLACING with DISTRICTS administered by APPOINTED officials of the Central National Government. with an APPOINTED DISTRICT governore at the head of each District?

    5. PRIMACY for Buddhism?

    6. SINHALA as the ONLY OFFICIAL language with BOTH Tamil and English as LINK Languages?

    7. A COMPLETE BAN on immigration, legal and otherwise, into the country?

    8. A COMPLETE BAN on foreign missionaries converting our people?

    9. STRENGTHENING the laws against TREASON?

    Pray TELL US what you have PROPOSED!

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    REVISED!

    So, what are these CONDITIONS SPELLED OUT by the JO?

    Why are they SUCH A SECRET and with-held from concerned citizens?

    Do your CONDITIONS include,

    1. PRESERVING the UNITARY STATUS of the country as NON-NEGOTIABLE?

    2. PRESERVING the EXECUTIVE presidency?

    3. REPEALING the 13th Amendment as an ILLEGALITY imposed by India on Sri Lanka?

    4. DISSOLVING the Provincial Councils and REPLACING with DISTRICTS administered by APPOINTED officials of the Central National Government. with an APPOINTED DISTRICT governor at the head of each District?

    5. PRIMACY for Buddhism?

    6. SINHALA as the ONLY OFFICIAL language with BOTH Tamil and English as LINK Languages?

    7. A COMPLETE BAN on immigration, legal and otherwise, into the country?

    8. A COMPLETE BAN on foreign missionaries converting our people?

    9. STRENGTHENING the laws against TREASON?

    Pray TELL US what you have PROPOSED!

  3. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Surely JO demands fall short of what nationalists want. However, given their clout in parliament (51 – sufficient to block a two third vote), we must support the JO position. Practicability over idealism is what is needed. If we push for more, even the 51 will be lost. This is the sad reality we have to work with. But there is no better way.

    Most of this can be traced to executive presidency. Politicians always try to satisfy minorities (at least not offend them too much) because they want their man to become the next executive president. Minorities play a huge role in presidential election. If there was no executive presidency, there is no need to depend on minority votes to win a majority of seats.

    This was not the case before 1982. Parties could address Sinhala interests alone and win elections to rule the country.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    You say that the executive Presidency is more vulnerable to minority votes. I don’t think so.

    Can you please explain your assertion to me with actual facts and figures?

  5. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ANANDA !! Just one more from me.

    NO LEAP FROGGING FROM OPPOSITION SIDE TO GOVERNMENT SIDE FOR PERKS. THIS IS HIGHLY ILLEGAL.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Susantha,

    Yes, indeed! FENCE JUMPING should be banned!

  7. Gunadasa Says:

    ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්‍ෂයේ ඉල්ලීම් 14

    1. ඒකීය රාජ්ය ව්යවස්ථාවෙන් ලැබී තිබෙන අයිතිය කිසිලෙසකින් වෙනස් නොවිය යුතුය.
    2. සම්බුද්ධ ශාසනයට ව්යවස්ථාවෙන් ලැබී තිබෙන අයිතිය කිසිලෙසකින් වෙනස් නොවිය යුතුය.
    3. ජාතික කොඩිය වෙනස් නොවිය යුතුය
    4. ජාතික ගීය වෙනස් නොවිය යුතුය.
    5. ආණ්ඩු ක්රමයේ ජනතා පරමාධිපත්ය පිළිබඳ බලය වෙනස් නොවිය යුතුය.
    6. පළාත් ඒකාබද්ධ නොකළ යුතු බව
    7. පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ ක්රියාකාරීත්වය වෙනස් විය යුතුය
    8. අගමැතිවරයා විරුද්ධ පක්ෂ නායකයා තෝරන හැටි වෙනස් විය යුතුය
    9. පළාත් සභා මගින් රටේ පැවැත්මට හානිවන කටයුතු සිදු නොවිය යුතුය.
    10. පළාත් සභා මගින් රටේ ආරක්ෂාවට කිසි ලෙසකින් හානිවන කටයුතු සිදු නොවිය යුතුය.
    11. මේ රටේ ඉඩම් විදේශිකයන්ට නොපැවරවිය යුතුය.
    12. පළාත් පාලන ආයතනවලට බලය වැඩි කළ යුතුය.
    13. රාජ්ය සුබසාධනය ඉටු කිරීම
    14. ඡන්ද ක්රමය මිශ්ර ක්රමයක් බවට පරිවර්තනය කිරීම

  8. Gunadasa Says:

    අලුත් ව‍‍යවස්ථාවක් නම් 13අ කතා අදාල නැත​. අන් ද මහතාගේ එක ඉල්ලීමක් මෙහි ඇත​. ඔය මදැයි ? ඔහොම යං

  9. Dilrook Says:

    Take the 2015 presidential election for instance. Mahinda won 58% of Sinhala votes but still lost to Sirisena who won only 40% of Sinhala votes. This situation will not improve in future; in fact it will worsen. Given the disparities in population growth rate in ethnic communities and continuing cheating in the north, east and Nuwara Eliya, even with 60% support Sinhalese will be unable elect their man (unless the presidential election is held after winning a general election).

    Unlike Tamils and Muslims, Sinhalese are not driven by racism. Therefore, you cannot expect 70% Sinhalese to vote for a candidate. They are divided into various camps.

    Mahinda won in 2005 thanks to low minority voters turnout compared to post-war. Had there been peacetime voters turnout during war time, Ranil would have won in 1999 (supported by the winning sentiment) and 2005 (outright). Chandrika won 62% in 1994 because the main challenger was killed and the presidential election was held after winning the general election by the PA. 2010 and 1982 are exceptions. Winning the war was a historical event that shot the president’s popularity to unprecedented heights. In 1982 the main challenger was barred from contesting.

    If Sri Lanka had presidential elections in 1956, Bandaranaike would never have promised “Sinhala Only” as he could not have won it.

    Even in the US, if the presidential election was held as in Sri Lanka, Hillary would have won easily. If India has presidential elections with public vote for an executive president, nationalist BJP would not have won.

    JR introduced the executive presidency elected by popular vote to take advantage of natural minority support for the UNP. When SLFP tries to win minorities, it loses majority votes more. It is a vote trap.

  10. drjagathv Says:

    ෆෙඩරල් සංහිඳියා නිරුවත .. ….්මේ ද්රෝහී ELAM ව්යවස්ථාාව This is the latest Yuthukama video on new constitution of the Separate Elam state. 19th December 2016. Click on ‘ 1 ‘ YOUTUBE COM icon to watch this most important presentation. https://youtu.be/pgV1gi82f08 .
    ෆෙඩරල් සංහිඳියා නිරුවත සම්මන්ත්රණය
    2016-12-19
    කොළඹ මහජන පුස්තකාල ශ්රවනාගාරය ෆෙඩරල් සංහිඳියා නිරුවත සම්මන්ත්රණය. Din’t you all see this yet? https://youtu.be/pgV1gi82f08 .

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