The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a coalition partner of the UPFA government, has forwarded a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressing its stand on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in the backdrop of the controversy created by the Muslims on the Divineguma Bill and the impeachment issue.
This was whilst the another coalition partner of the UPFA, the Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Minister Wimal Weerawansa together with two other allies Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) lobbied for the support of the other parliamentarians for the abolition of the 13th Amendment, political sources said yesterday.
Minister Weerawansa, in an interview with the print media, had said that under the current provincial councils governing system, the country has a Federal set up. “Laws in the provincial councils are not approved by parliament, but parliament needs approval from the PCs to implement some laws. Although we speak of a unitary state, it is, in fact, federal”.
Meanwhile Chief Ministers of the eight provincial councils, excluding the North are to move a motion in their respective councils calling on the government not to abolish the 13rth Amendment to the Constitution , political sources said.
The sources said that the motion has been prepared by the Chief Minister of the North-Western Province, Athula Wijesinghe and the council is scheduled to hold a special debate on this matter tomorrow. The other provincial councils are expected to take up the motion later, the sources said. In the letter, SLMC General Secretary Parliamentarian M. T. Hassen Ali has stated that the 13th Amendment and the provincial councils it envisaged gave the Muslims a new opportunity of political empowerment at the periphery and that the party opposes any moves to abolish this piece of legislation.
That the SLMC is strongly opposed to any weakening of the 13th Amendment, he stressed. This decision to forward a letter to the President were taken by the SLMC High Command members who met last Saturday at Party headquarters presided by leader and Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem.
Meanwhile, coalition partners of the UPFA government such as the LSSP, CPSL, Democratic Left Front and the EPDP have allied with the SLMC calling for the strengthening of the 13th Amendment, political sources said.
By Franklin R. Satyapalan