Senior ministers in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government are apparently divided into two groups over the continuation of the Provincial Council system established in accordance with the 13th Amendment. Highly placed government sources said that while one group is in favour of the Provincial Council system, several others, including government partners, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the National Freedom Front (NFF) are adamant that the 13th Amendment be abolished immediately. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently went on record, stating that the time has come to end the Provincial Council system.
However, other parties in the coalition, like the Sri Lanka Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party and Democratic Left Front have maintained that the government should not abolish the 13th Amendment.
“They are of the opinion that if the government abolished the 13th Amendment and the Provincial Council system, it will push the country towards another era of violence and conflict,” the sources claimed. Meanwhile, Ceylon Today learns that the JHU is planning to take legal action against the Provincial Councils, while the NFF has already begun educating people about the negative aspects of the Provincial Council system and the 13th Amendment.
Minister Wimal Weerawansa expressing his views about the ongoing discussion said the Provincial Council system was not a problem so far as the North and East Councils are not effective. “Once they start functioning, pro-LTTE elements will attempt to get legal recognition to what Prabhakaran attempted to achieve through the bullet.
They are planning to destabilize the country and rule the country according to the tunes of these Provincial Councils. If this situation continues, the day will not be far when the TNA starts ruling the people in the South,” Weerawansa warned. Responding to these remarks, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said they will not let the government abolish the 13th Amendment. “Having such discussions itself is a shame and a crime.
This will only aggravate the problem. Parties in the government talking of such issues is a pathetic situation and is an attempt to trap the government” he said.