The three-day debate on the interim report of the Steering Committee, on Constitutional Reforms, began yesterday (30) with the Parliament sitting as a Constituent Assembly and from the outset it was clear there were deep divisions among the Parties.
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) emphasized that there should not be any constitutional reforms proposed that needed a referendum.
Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva said, the SLFP did not believe the Executive Presidency needed to be abolished.
“The SLFP accepts that the country needs a new electoral system. In the same vein we accept that there is a need for the devolution of powers. The new Constitution has not been finalized yet. After this debate, the Constitutional Council would sit to……prepare the final draft for the new Constitution. Today’s SLFP stance on the content of a new Constitution does not differ from the standpoint of former President Mahinda Rapjapaksa, sometime back, with regard to the content of a new Constitution. It is not prudent to do away with the Executive Presidency entirely.”
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) however, charged that some groups were attempting to ensure the protection of the Executive Presidency through fear mongering. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that no political party in Sri Lanka held the moral high ground to support the continuance of the Executive Presidency.