President Mahinda Rajapaksa today told the coalition partners of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that they can vote as they wish in parliament on the proposed changes to the 13th Amendment to the constitution.
The President expressed this view when he met separately with the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the EPDP today, Presidential spokesman Mohan Samaranayaka told the Colombo Gazette.
Samaranayaka said that a JHU delegation led by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and an EPDP delegation led by Minister Douglas Devananda had separate meetings with the President today.
“The President told the two delegations that the can freely express their views and vote as they wish on the proposed changes as coalition partners of the government,” Samaranayaka said.
The JHU has been pushing for the 13th Amendment to be abolished or changes to be included before the scheduled northern provincial council polls in September.
Among the changes proposed to the 13th Amendment is the removal of land and police powers allocated to the provinces.
The EPDP, which had on earlier occasions wanted land and police powers to the provinces, had later said it is ready to reconsider its stand.
India had said it will push for the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the constitution in full.
Speaking to the Jaffna based ‘Uthayan’ newspaper, Indian Union Minister V. Narayanaswamy had said over the weekend that India wants the accord signed between former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardena implemented.
He said that this message was also conveyed to Minister Arumugam Thondaman when he visited India last week. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam