B. Muralidhar Reddy
East-north merger can be dealt with during talks with LTTE, other parties: Vitharana
APRC chairman endorses important recommendationsThere shall be two Vice-Presidents elected by Parliament
COLOMBO: The Chairman of the Sri Lanka All Parties Representative Conference (APRC), Tissa Vitharana, commended to members switching over from the executive Presidency to executive Prime Ministership with province as the unit for devolution of powers.
He has endorsed important recommendations, except on merger of the northern and eastern provinces, made in the majority report of the multiethnic experts' panel constituted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to aid him in resolution of the ethnic conflict.
Prof. Vitharana told The Hindu that given the diverse opinions within the APRC on the merger he felt that the issue was best dealt with at the time of negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other parties concerned.
The APRC Chairman, who is a senior Minister in the Rajapaksa Government, emphasised that most of his recommendations flowed from the consensus within the Conference.
"I have sent copies of my report to members of the APRC with a request for their comments by next week."
The state shall be obliged to safeguard the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic and to preserve and advance a Sri Lankan identity, recognising the multilingual, multireligious and multicultural character of the society.
The people shall be described in the Constitution as being composed of "the Sinhala, Sri Lankan Tamil, Moor, Indian Tamil and other constituent peoples of Sri Lanka."
The transfer of executive powers to Parliament shall take place at the end of the current term of office of the President (2011).
In the interim period, the President shall be deemed a member of Parliament and shall be answerable to Parliament on the exercise of executive power.
There shall be two Vice-Presidents elected by Parliament and they shall belong to two different communities distinct from that of the President. Their term of office shall be three years.