The SLFP said today the nine-point amendment presented by them on the resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly was accepted by the UNP and the resolution was likely to be passed in Parliament tomorrow.
The resolution was not approved on Saturday at the special parliamentary session for the purpose because of disagreements on the resolution presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe among opposition members including the SLFP.
Minister Susil Premajayantha told a media conference at the SLFP office today that the UNP and the SLFP had reached a consensus to refer to the upcoming Constitution as ‘A Constitution and not as ‘New Constitution’, to remove the preface of the resolution, not to suspend Standing Orders in full but only when necessary, fully remove pages 4 and 5 containing 24 points, the necessity to pass the resolution with a two-thirds majority and a referendum and give the full freedom to any citizen to seek redress from the Supreme Court if he or she disagrees with the Constitution or any of its parts.
“We had several rounds of talks with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe and other opposition parties and were able to come to a compromise.
We do not believe in opposing for opposing sake. Each and every move of the UNP-led government and ther consensus among the two major political parties on an extremely important national issue is good for the country and promotes and strengthens the concept of good governance,” the minister said.
He assured that a new Constitution would be passed in accordance with the provisions of the 1978 Constitution and the Constitutional Assembly for the purpose would be set up under the Standing Orders of the current Parliament.
The minister said the Constitutional Assembly with the participation of all members of Parliament to draft the New Constitution must not meet outside Parliament like what happened when drafting the 1972 Costitution because it would be drafted under the provisions of the 1978 Constitution.
“The Constituent Assembly to draft the 1972 Constitution met at the New Town Hall because the 1972 Republiccan Constitution broke away from the Soulbury Constitution whereas Ceylon (Sri Lanka) remained under the British Monarchy,” he said.
Deputy Minister Dilan Perera said certain members of the opposition making desperate but futile attempts to spread falsehoods, fabrications and utter lies on the new Constitution.
The SLFP was fully confident that there would be no threats to the nation, country, Buddhism or to the armed forces as these trouble-makers are trying to make out. The deputy minister challenge former minister G.L. Peiris to come for a debate with him to prove that Buddhism, the nation, the country and armed forces would be under threat after the new Constitution was enacted. “I have worked with him as his deputy when he served as the Constitutional Affairs Minister under Chandrika Kumaratunga regime and he should know better if there was any such threat to the country. Mr. Peiris must not stoop to this level just because he is out of power and has lost his perks and privileges,” he said Ministers Faizer Musthapha and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa also spoke.
(By Sandun A. Jayasekera)