• search
For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

Sri Lanka begins process to frame new Constitution


Colombo, Jan 9: Sri Lanka today began the process of formulating a new Constitution with President Maithripala Sirisena underlining the need for constitutional reforms aimed at achieving reconciliation with the minority Tamil community and preventing another ethnic war.

"We need a Constitution that suits the needs of the 21st century and make sure that all communities live in harmony," Sirisena, who completed one year in office today, said in his address to the Parliament.

SL starts framing new Constitution

Outlining the previous attempts in the island nation's history to settle the Tamil issue through various forms of devolution, Sirisena said, "The extremists in the south and the north have caused the loss of thousands of young lives".

"We must ensure reconciliation and harmony so that we will never go back to war."

"I believe now, through our past bitter experiences, we must prepare ourselves for future challenges," he said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who also spoke in the Parliament, presented a resolution to set a Constitutional Assembly (CA) made up of legislators, who would seek public input and make recommendations for a new Constitution.

In a special session, Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in Parliament to set up CA and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new Constitution.

"We will have the whole Parliament formulating the Constitution unlike the previous instances when the constitutions were drafted outside Parliament," he said.

The new Constitution will replace the current executive president headed constitution adopted in 1978. Sirisena acknowledged the difficulty in drafting a constitution that would satisfy both sides - Sinhalese and Tamils.

Sinhalese oppose a federal system that would ensure more political power for minority Tamils. Sirisena said he himself had opposed the India-mooted provincial councils system introduced in 1987 as a solution but later realised that it was "a good thing".

He said a solution has to be found which will lead to lasting peace through consensus.

"The move to set up the Constitutional Assembly was done with that aim," he said.

Sirisena, who was elected last year after his stunning electoral victory over strongman Mahinda Rajapaka, wants to abolish the present executive presidential system which for long has faced accusations of being authoritarian.

Sri Lankan troops in 2009 defeated the LTTE which was fighting for an independent state for minority ethnic Tamils.

At least 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed in just the final months of the civil war, according to a UN report.

The Sri Lankan government has promised that it will investigate alleged war crime allegations against government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.


For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more