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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Sri Lanka: Former president Kumaratunga moots draft proposal to break political impasse

  • Recommends setting up of interim Govt. for maximum of six months
  • New PM to be elected from Parliament to function as head of Govt.
  • Interim Govt. to bring constitutional amendments to abolish Executive Presidency
  • Proposes setting up of 101-member Council of State for National Policy
  • Says proposal offers middle ground between public and concerns of politicians

 Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has mooted a proposal for the setting up of an interim Government for a maximum six months with the Prime Minister as Head of Government elected from among the Members of Parliament as a way to overcome the current political impasse in the country.

The proposal was made public by Kumaratunga in a letter saying: “We cannot disregard our responsibility to actively join together to seek solutions and bring the country back to normalcy  as early as possible.”

In the letter, the former President said she had engaged in many dialogues and discussions and after much reflection, came up with a proposal that attempts to take into consideration the strident demands of the young people and adults at Galle Face and all over the country in addition to the concerns and ideas excessed by senior political leaders, as well as leaders of numerous sectors of society.

She did not disclose the identity of the persons or groups with whom she had held discussions before formulating the proposal.

Kumaratunga said the proposal attempts to find a middle ground between the justified demands of the youth and older generations and the concerns of politicians, especially Members of Parliament.

The proposal includes restricting the Cabinet to 12 with its members to be appointed from amongst those in the current Parliament.

The interim Government will be tasked with bringing constitutional amendments to abolish the office of the President and replace it with a Head of State who will be a nominal President.

It also contains a proposal for the setting up of a Council of State for National Policy  which the Cabinet will need to consult on all matters relating to the drafting and implementation of policy, laws, regulations.

The Council will be made up of 101 members of which 75 will be nominated by civil society organisations, professional bodies, private sector and businesses, academics etc. while the remaining 26 members will be nominated by the PM and Leader of the Opposition.

The proposal also advocates 40% representation for women and 40% for persons below the age of 40. Kumaratunga said the draft proposal is open for discussion and amendments.



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