Constitutional Council defunct now – Get the federal constitution approved if possible – Wimal Weerawansa
Posted on July 21st, 2017

Anrudda Bandara Ranawarana Media Secretary National Freedim Front.(Translated by : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA)

The leader of the National Freedom Front Mr. Wimal Weerawansa said that the Constitutional Council became defunct with the withdrawal of the 05 National Freedom Front MPs including him and challenged the government to bring in a federal constitution and get it approved if possible.

Mr. Weerawansa made this challenge addressing a media conference held at the headquarters of the National Freedom Front in Pitakotte.  Speaking further Mr. Weerawansa said

We informed the Speaker in writing that the 05 National Freedom Front MPs will dissociate from the Constitutional Council.  You know that it was the Parliament with all its 225 members was termed as the Constitutional Council. As we were members of parliament automatically we became the members of this Constitutional Council. But from the very beginning we refrained from participating in the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Council or in the 06 sub-committees appointed by it,

We had a premonition from the very beginning that this process of bringing in a constitutional amendment under the leadership of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is detrimental to the contry. We arrived at that premonition because it was mentioned in the proposal submitted against Sri Lanka by the United States at the United Human Rights Concil in 2015,    in the reports relating to Sri Lanka submitted by the Human Rights Commissioner Sayyed Al Hssain, in the conditions submitted by the European Union to grant GSP+ concession to Sri Lanka it had been emphasized that Sri Lanka should expeditiously bring in a federal constitution. It was under obligation to aforementioned international pressure that Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe took the leadership and started this process of formulating a constitution.  The agenda they had was to formulate a draft constitution by a group they termed as the Constitution Formulation Body” and bring it to the Parliament. But they had to abandon that plan because of opinion expressed by our group of MPs and the leader of the joint opposition parliamentarian Mr. Dinesh Gunawardene. Finally, the whole parliament was made as a Constitutional Council.

It is clear that this is a constitution being formulated under international pressure

The attempts to bring in a new constitution or the constitutional amendment are being done under the aforementioned international pressure.  But a new constitution isformulated it should only be made to fulfil the aspirations of the people of this country.

What the UN special representativ Mr. Ben Emmerson who came to Sri Lanka recently did?  What he did was to observe whether Sri Lanka was implementing the programme of work entrusted under the timetable of his organization.  If the programme of work has been done he would say good” and otherwise he would say cannot be satisfied” . Now this government, this country has become a country under international observation.

Hidden even from the steering committee

Eventhough the whole parliament was constituted as a Constitutional Council this constitution formulation process is not straight. The Prime Minister who functions as the Chairman of the Steering Committ of the Constitutional Council submitted a report recently prepared outside the steering committee as a report of the steering committee.  Even the members of the steering committee were not aware of anything about this report. The Prime Minister attempted to sbmit this externally formulated report to the Constitutional Council as a report of the steering committee.  This clearly shows that there are some external groups who are involved in the process of formulating this constitution.  The Prime Minister is also only an intermediate leading figure.  These people are planning to impose a separatist constitution wanted by them through the parliament.  Several such reasons were also impacted for us to take this decision.

The important reason

The TriNikaya Mahanayaka Theroes also issued a Monks’ Decree to this government.  That Decree was No need for new constitutions or constitutional amebdments”.  The Anu Nayake Theroes expressed this matter in a different manner. That was that the known devil is better than the unknown devil”.  From the bogus report submitted by the Prime Minister to the steering committee of the Constitutional Council it can clearly be grasped how the unknown devil” will be.  That report shows that the new constitution will make this contry a federal state.

A government that does not understand the historical traditions.

Going ahead with the process of formulating a new constitution despite the joint decree issed by the Mahanayake Theroes is an act violating their decree.   In the history of this country the Maha Sangha were above the King.  The Maha Sangha did not get up when the King arrived.  But when the Maha Sangha visited the King, theKing got up.  The Maha Sangha did not prostrate before the King.  But the King prostrated before the Mahaa Sangha.  The King always anticipated admonitions from the Maha Sangha.  The Rulers who acted without heeding the advice of Maha Sangha fell down prematurely.  Therefore this government should understand that there is something called historical tradition” in this country.

When the Mahanayake Theroes of the Tri-Nikaya seeing through the process being undertaken say that there is no need for a new constitution or amendments” we cannot remain as representatives in anywhere of such a process being undertaken as the members of the Constitutional Council.  That is why the 05 members of us decided to withdraw ourselves from the Constitutional Council after discussing deeply within the political bureau of the National Freedom Front an after discussing deeply with other leaders of the political parties in the joint opposition.

Now the Constitutional Council is defunct.

It was all the 225 members of parliament that was considered as the Constitutional Council.  But there is a question now,  After 05 members of parliament gave a written letter to the Speaker saying that they are withdrawing from the Constitutional Council it can no longer be called as the Constitutional Council. It cannot be teermed as such even if one member withdraws from it. It is contrary to the traditions and contrary to the Law.  Therefore we request today as well as it was requested in the letter submitted to the Speaker that it was the whole parliament that was named as the Constitutional Council. When you say the whole parliament it includes all the 225 members.  Now 05 members have withdrawn themselves from the Constitutional Council.  Therefore saying that the whole parliament became the Constitutional Council is no more valid.  Therefore we ask the Speaker to inform of this new situation to the Parliament.  Since 05 members have withdrawn from the Constitutional Council it can no longer be called as the Constitutional Council and you must tell the Parliament that under the present circumstances the Constitutional Council becomes invlid.  On the legal side also that is the truth.

We respectfully ask the Hon’ble Speaker without obliging to Prime Minister’s illegal advises to take a justifiable decision at least in this matter.  Similarly we tell this govwenment that there is no Constitutional Council now.  Therefore, if you want to formulate a new Constitution formulate it by the government itself.  As Chandrika brought the ‘package’ in the past bring in a constitution formulated by the government to the parliament.

But if a new constitution or constitutional amendment was brought disregarding the decree of the Mahanayake Theroes of the Tri-Nikaya, the Mah Sangha and the psople of this country will not allow to get it approved.  We emphasize to this government that people in hundreds of thousands are prepared to come out to the streets to prevent that sinful act.  We are prepared to give leadership to such a process.

The Deputy leaders of the NFF MPs Weerakmara Dissanayake and Jayantha Samaraweera and the NFF poitbreau memer MP Niroshan Premaratne also attended this media conference.

 

Anrudda Bandara Ranawarana

Media Secretary

National Freedim Front.

(Translated by : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA)

2 Responses to “Constitutional Council defunct now – Get the federal constitution approved if possible – Wimal Weerawansa”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    The Constitutional Council didn’t become defunct by the withdrawal of the NFF. It was never in the Constitutional Council!

    The Constitutional Assembly also didn’t become defunct by the withdrawal of the NFF. In 1972, Tamil political parties withdrew from the Constitutional Assembly. Nothing happened. The new Constitution was passed. NFF left the JO because the JO does not support the Maha Sangha statement. The question is, why do the PJHU and MEP – supposedly nationalist parties – still remain in the JO?

    President Sirisena signed the Office of Missing Persons Act on July 20. No party or party leader protested against it! In fact the JO didn’t oppose it formally, demand a vote or voted against it in parliament. But some have been trying to fool the people by making claims they want to protect war heroes. If they really want to protect war heroes they must have opposed it in parliament, demanded a vote (not a letter to the president), come to parliament that day and voted against it. In addition, they should have warned Sirisena against signing it and protested against Sirisena’s approval. None of this happened.

    People and war heroes have been fooled by all MPs and the President. War heroes will have to defend themselves in a court of law by implicating higher authorities. There is no escape for them other than that.

  2. SA Kumar Says:

    In 1972, Tamil political parties withdrew from the Constitutional Assembly.
    Dilrook so first constitution (after republic 1972) passed with out minority approval ! but We are democratic republic country.

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