Sri Lanka kick-starts process to adopt new statute

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in Parliament on Saturday to set up a Constituent Assembly of all members and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new Constitution.  

Sri Lankan Parliament on Saturday began a process to formulate a new constitution with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presenting a resolution to set up a Constitutional Assembly (CA) of all members for the purpose.

In a special session, Mr. Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in parliament to set up a CA of all members and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new constitution.

Will be an inside job

“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.

The resolution noted that there shall be a Committee of Parliament referred to as the “Constitutional Assembly” which shall consist of all MPs, for the purpose of deliberating on, and seeking the views and advice of the people, on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.

It said the Speaker of Parliament will be the Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly and there will be seven Deputy Chairmen of the Constitutional Assembly, who shall be elected by the Constitutional Assembly.

A Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, and not more than 11 other Members of the Constitutional Assembly will be appointed by the Constitutional Assembly.

Now is the time: Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena in his address said the time has come to formulate a new constitution in keeping with the demands of the 21st century.

He warned that extremist elements both in the south and the north may try to scuttle the process.

He denied opposition’s accusations that the new constitution is being drafted to please the international community based on their advice.

Mr. Sirisena, since coming to power, has reduced his presidential powers and strengthened key areas of governance by setting up independent commissions on police, judiciary elections and public service.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 6:15:34 AM |

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