14 May 2011
“The TNA has consistently asked for power devolution on federal lines. The party has also insisted on the re-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces,”
It is learnt that at Thursday’s meeting, the government had handed over a document detailing its plan to establish a Senate under the present constitution.
The government had laid out two options for the establishment of the Senate with powers to enact or amend legislation. One of the options was for the provincial councils to elect 75 members, three each from the 25 districts with the President nominating 15 members while the other option was for people to elect 63 members — seven from each province to the Senate or the Second Chamber with the President nominating 17 members.
It is learnt the TNA had opposed this proposal on the grounds that it did not contain any mechanism to ensure the rights of the minority communities and had wanted more time to study the matter further before making a formal response to the government.
The two sides have held six rounds of talks so far on matters of immediate concern and power sharing.
“The TNA has consistently asked for power devolution on federal lines. The party has also insisted on the re-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces,” sources close to the party said.
The TNA delegation comprised leader R. Sampanthan, Suresh Premachandran and M.A. Sumanthiran while the government delegation was led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The next meeting is to be held on June 26.