New Constitution : Steering Committee to finalise report after Parliamentary debate | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

New Constitution : Steering Committee to finalise report after Parliamentary debate

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe share a light moment during a special session to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Parliament last week. Pic: Thilak Perera
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe share a light moment during a special session to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Parliament last week. Pic: Thilak Perera

A special debate will be held on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly in Parliament from October 30 to November 1.

The debate will reveal the views of the different political parties in addition to the discussions taking place in the country. Following which, the Steering Committee will meet to prepare the final report of the draft Constitution, Steering Committee member and TNA Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran said.

There is no specific timeline to enact the new Constitution, but it will be possible to reach a consensus on all contentious matters such as the nature and unit of devolution and electoral reforms, the MP told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Asked whether there will be a consensus regarding the Executive Presidency as some parties such as the SLFP want to retain it, while others including the UNP seem to favour its abolition, Sumanthiran said President Maithripala Sirisena has pledged to abolish the Executive Presidency. But now his party says something different. Nevertheless, there can be some kind of compromise.

“I think all parties will agree to have some powers given to the President even if he is not called the Executive President. That is a matter that can be discussed and a consensus arrived at,” Sumanthiran said.

Commenting on the impact of the Malwatte Mahanayake Thera’s firm rebuttal of Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena’s accusations on the new Constitution and the misinformation campaign launched against it by several interested political parties, MP Sumanthiran said the Mahanayake Thera has very clearly explained to them the truth about the new Constitution. This misinformation campaign should not be carried out by the Joint Opposition, he said.

He said the Interim Report has very comprehensively explained that there is no place for the division of the State. The whole Constitution is based on that firm bedrock. The country will not be divided and the maximum possible power sharing can be done so that the national question that has been there for 70 years can also be settled once and for all.

“The governance structures can change but the country will remain one. I think that is the message the Mahanayake Thera has given to the group of Joint Opposition MPs who called on him recently,” Sumanthiran said.

The 96-page Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly was tabled in Parliament by its Chairman, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on September 21.

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