Several Sri Lankan parties want executive presidency abolished, only UPFA divided, says PM

COLOMBO (The Island/ANN ) - Stressing that the country needed a new Constitution in keeping with the times, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Jaffna on Friday, that the United National Party (UNP), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wanted the Executive Presidency abolished, while only a section of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was opposed to it.

The Prime Minister responding to questions from Tamils on a political
solution to the ethnic issue, during his official engagements  in the peninsula which included the launch of several development projects, said that having experimented with a semi presidential system of government for 41 years, it had dawned on his party the UNP, JVP and TNA  and a section of the  UPFA, who represented the majority of Sri Lankans, that the way forward was to establish an electoral system that ensured a stable Parliament, for which a new Constitution was needed.

There was nothing wrong nor was there any need to fear devolution within a political system, that protected the sovereignty and unity of the country, he noted  adding that the UNP was committed to ensuring Tamils could live as equal citizens, as contained in the report before the Constitutional Assembly.

Wickremesinghe said that though the concept of devolution was  good, since it  empowered people at the grassroots as well, it was necessary to ensure that the cost of governance was not duplicated, resulting in a huge increase in State expenditure.

Refuting allegations by  the UPFA  that the UNP  had disowned the Constitutional Assembly Report, he pointed out that the UNP accepted it with the exception of a few clauses,  that had to be deliberated and sorted out.

The Prime Minister explained that the  reason for the UNP not submitting proposals to the Constitutional Assembly, of which he was the Chairman, was because it wanted to discuss and arrive at a consensus on  the proposals put forward by other political parties, so as to ensure progress on issues that had been dragging on for years.

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