President Maithripala Sirisena said his government would not hesitate to go for a referendum to introduce a new constitution to the country – as promised during his Presidential election campaign early this year.
“We embarked upon the constitutional reform process. To complete that, we will have to resort to a referendum. My government is ready to do that as well,” the President said, addressing a Sri Lankan community gathering at the Sri Lankan embassy in Paris on Sunday night. “We wanted to introduce broader constitutional reforms through the 19th Amendment to the constitution. But, we had to bow down to the Supreme Court decision. However, we transferred some amount of executive powers to the legislature through the 19th amendment,” the President added.
“Over the past 10 months,” President Sirisena said ” the government was very much focused on initiating social and political reforms. That was our main promise during the Presidential election campaign.”
“Had former President Rajapaksa won the Presidential election, the country would have faced more difficult problems. We were becoming an isolated state where international politics was concerned. We have reversed this situation now. Within two days, I met the heads of state of the UK, Australia and Canada. This has never happened before,” the President told the Sri Lankan community in Paris.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Sri Lankan expatriates who supported him at the last Presidential election. When asked about claims on potential threats to national security, the President said there was no real basis behind such statements made by various parties with vested interests.
“I am more concerned about national security than most of the self-proclaimed patriots striving to create a fear psychosis among the public,” the President said.
“It is true that we have made some measures in the direction of accountability and reconciliation.
But, that does not mean that we have betrayed the dignity of our own armed forces. I can assure that no action will be taken to harm the dignity of our war heroes.” President Sirisena added, saying that the government would only probe into individuals who violated the law of the land.