PM for devolution, new Constitution

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed that he is supportive of devolution while protecting the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka. He also said the country needs a new constitution.He was responding to queries on the UNP’s and his stand on a political solution and how the country should move forward with it, speaking at a gathering in Jaffna yesterday. “What is really needed now is a political solution. I am for the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka, but I also believe that the Tamils in the country must be able to live with equality, dignity and respect and be also to make their own decisions within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The UNP and myself as the leader of UNP, are committed to ensuring respect and dignity for the Tamils within a political system which builds on the principles of devolution as contained in the report now before the Constitutional Assembly,” he said.

“In fact, the UNP did not put any proposals before the Constitutional Assembly because we did not want to counter others’ proposals and we wanted to discuss. We found a lot of similarity of views and we have only a few points that must be discussed.The principles of devolution are now in the Constitutional Assembly reports and I must tell you that we stand by them. We will be developing on them in the future. I was the Chairman of the committee. The problem is how we get the necessary majority. The Government does not have the majority, but I have been able to keep it going for the past four and half years despite problems,” he added.

“We have been supportive of devolution. At the same time, we must look at subsidiary also. It shouldn’t double the expense of the Government. The system must work in a way we don’t add to expenses but to the powers,” he commented. “While the UNP, JVP and TNA are in agreement of abolition of executive presidency, the UPFA is divided on the matter. The electoral system that will give a stable Parliament must be worked out. We need a new Constitution,” he said.