Sri Lanka says Parliament Committee on political solution will strengthen Parliament-
28 June 2011
Sri Lankan President said that the appointing of a Parliamentary Select Committee to find a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem was by no means a delaying tactic, but one that sought to obtain the concurrence of Parliament for any decision made, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“Sri Lanka is having a Parliamentary democracy and strengthening the Parliament is a vibrant democratic process as it is represented by all parties and all ethnic groups” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa
He was responding to a question raised at the meeting with editors of the local media at Temple Trees this morning.
He said it was view of many party leaders and MPs that the search for a solution should not be confined to discussions with one party. They saw they need to give an opportunity to Parliament, comprising all parties and groups within it, to consider a solution.
The Select Committee can work out a time frame to reach its conclusion. It will ensure collective responsibility of Parliament, and give ear to the concerns of all parties. This was a means of strengthening Parliament too, the President added.
The PSC will go ahead with its negotiations once it is constituted with the consent of all parties represented in Parliament while the Government continues the negotiations with the Tamil National Alliance.
“I will accept any decision or proposal given by Parliament. That is the proper democratic approach and recognizes that fact that a final decision should come from Parliament,” he said.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris said that far from being a delaying tactic, the Select Committee procedure would in fact expedite the matter. Talks are already on with TNA. The 7th round of such talks is due next. It would be a delay if one waits for these talks to conclude to present a result to Parliament. What is considered by the Select Committee method is parallel activity. The process would be concurrent and not successive. It would amount to a telescoping of two consultative processes, the Minister said.
President Rajapaksa responding to questions on the need for the Select Committee in view of earlier reports of All Party Conference, the Vitharana Report etc., said that some parties did not participate in the All Party Conference. The Vitharana Report was not a final report. The conditions have since changed and a fresh parliamentary election has been held with a renewed mandate.
When asked what the position would be if TNA does not participate in the Select Committee, the President asked how they [TNA] could trust him if they cannot trust Parliament. President emphasized it is often said the powers of Parliament should be recognized and this is exactly what is intended by the Select Committee.
The final decision would have to be made by Parliament in keeping with democratic practice and I would accept it, President said.