The 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka may well become a thing of the past by the middle of next year if the present plan fructifies.
As of now, it has been proposed to convert the existing 225-member-strong Parliament into Constitutional Assembly, whose primary responsibility will be to produce a fresh Constitution.
The text of a draft resolution, meant for adoption by Parliament, has been hosted on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office. An official at the Parliament Secretariat says that so far there has been no official communication on the draft resolution.
However, it is only a matter of time for Parliament to pass such a resolution.
A source who is privy to discussions on the matter said that after the Constitutional Assembly has been put in place, the idea is to complete the exercise by June or July next year.1972 Consitution
In the case of the 1972 Constitution, the process took nearly two years for completion. The process lasted hardly a year during the drafting of the 1978 Constitution.
Billed as the country’s first republican Constitution, the 1972 document was adopted when the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led United Front was in power and Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the Prime Minister.
The 1978 Constitution, which ushered in the system of executive presidency, was made when the United National Party (UNP) was in power and J.R. Jayawardene at the helm of affairs.
Nineteen amendments were made in the last 37 years and they would be incorporated into the proposed Constitution, the source said.Smooth affair
With all the political formations, as represented in Parliament, having supported the idea of drafting a new Constitution, the process is likely to be a smooth affair. The two principal parties — the UNP and the SLFP — are sharing power at the Centre.