COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday slammed the efforts being made to formulate a new Constitution, saying Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s government does not have political moral to introduce it and should therefore hold fresh polls.
Rajapaksa was speaking in parliament on the report of the experts panel presented in the Constitutional assembly by Wickremesinghe two weeks ago.
Sri Lanka’s former strongman, who attempted to overthrow Wickremesinghe with the help of President Maithripala Sirisena last year, critised the prime minister’s statements that the country will remain indivisible and united even after the new Constitution is enacted.
Rajapaksa said the new Constitution would weaken the parliament and “immeasurably strengthen provincial legislatures”.
Since the presentation of the report, Rajapaksa has been alleging that the government is drafting a new Constitution to appease the main Tamil political party – Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and that the new Constitution would harm the Sinhala majority community.
Rajapaksa said that the limitations imposed on the legislative power of Parliament is “the turning point at which the unitary state becomes a federal state”. He is also critical of the devolved police powers for provinces as advocated in the report.
He told Parliament that Wickremesinghe’s government lacked political moral to introduce a new Constitution and therefore they should hold a fresh parliamentary poll.
It appears that the current constitutional process had run into the same historical problems which stopped efforts by various government to address the Tamil demand for political recognition.
Wickremesinghe maintains that there is no draft constitution and the process was still open for all concerned to make a joint effort to come up with a final draft.
The LTTE fought a bloody separatist war to create a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east provinces.
With the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the main Tamil political party has taken a much conciliatory attitude by shedding the demand for a separate state.