|DEW, Vasu and Tissa|
Communist Party General Secretary and Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera yesterday said that the UNP, too, was willing to either do away with executive presidency or dilute presidential powers through a constitutional amendment, though it had earlier pledged to scrap the presidency in the event of winning the next presidential election.
Asked whether the Socialist Alliance (SA) comprising the CP, LSSP and DLF represented in Parliament intended to initiate a dialogue with the UNP in this regard, Minister Gunasekera told The Island that UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had assured him of the UNP’s support to move a constitutional amendment in Parliament.
Wickremesinghe gave that assurance to Gunasekera on the sidelines of last Friday’s meeting of multi-religious dignitaries and senior representatives of political parties at the Abhayaramaya in Colombo.
The objective of the parley was to discuss the possibility of curtailing the powers of the executive presidency and the current political and economic situation in the country.
Responding to another query, CP chief asserted that Wickremesinghe had appeared to have changed his position in the wake of receiving Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera’s proposal to dilute presidential powers.
National List MP Gunasekera said that the UNP’s support would be crucial for the success of their effort.
The MP said that further discussions among them would be necessary to reach an agreement on an action plan. According to Gunasekera, except Ven. Rathana Thera, all others wanted to do away with the executive presidency.
Gunasekera said that Chairman of the UNP Leadership Council Karu Jayasuriya, too, had assured him their backing if a constitutional amendment was presented to Parliament.
Last week, TNA heavyweight M. A. Sumanthiran declared that the alliance would support efforts to scrap executive presidency.
by Shamindra Ferdinando