Constitutional Committee to delay report

Monday, 25 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The presentation of a report on the new Constitution will be delayed till 15 May as the Committee tasked to get public views on it says it cannot meet the April end deadline. 

Senior lawyer Lal Wijenayake, the convener of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform, said the report is currently under way but they would not be able to meet the April end deadline as had been agreed earlier. 

“We are currently determining what recommendations should be made out of all representations made before to the committee,” Wijenayake said. 

The Committee has been working since mid January when the work for a new Constitution began. The new Constitution will replace the current Executive President headed Constitution adopted in 1978. 

Wijenayake said they had consulted the public, political parties and civil society to seek views on the new Constitution. 

He confirmed that the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, has proposed a federal solution to be incorporated in the constitution as means to address the political aspirations of the country’s Tamil minority. 

He however said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the main left party, the JVP or the People’s Liberation Front have failed to send in their proposals. 

The need to change the present executive president headed constitution was pledged by the current president Maithripala Sirisena in the run up to the Jan 2015 presidential elections. 

Since being elected he watered down some of the powers of the president through the 19th amendment to the constitution among other sweeping constitutional and electoral reforms. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hopes to have the new constitution adopted by early next year. (PTI)