Federal proposal among Sri Lankan views on constitutional reform: PRC

Federal proposal

June 01, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Public Representations Committee (PRC) on constitutional reforms has received various proposals from the public including proposals for a federal solution with separation of power, the committee said.

The Chairman of the Committee Lal Wijenayake told reporters Wednesday that the public had different views on the nature of the state.

“There were proposals for a federal state, but some proposed to keep the unitary state,” Wijenayake said.

“Several others proposed to separate powers in a form that strengthens the current Provincial Council system.”

Wijenayake revealed that there were many proposals to completely scrap the executive presidency from Sri Lanka.

“But some people proposed to keep the existing system, as the current system has already reduced the executive powers following the 19th amendment,” he said.

“Few people wanted to revert back to the early system that had all the powers vested with the executive president.”

Wijenayake however said the most important reform voiced from the north to the south of the country was the democratization of the state and national reconciliation.

“There were different views on how it should be done but that is the most significant reform,” he said.

The chairman further stated that most people were unhappy with the political culture of this country, particularly the behavior of Members of Parliament.

“Some proposed remedies including the right to recall MPs and to check educational qualifications and ethics.”

There were also proposals on rule of law, human rights and public service restructuring, the committee said.

The committee has also proposed to include a separate bill of rights chapter that contains 37 rights for the proposed constitution.

Apart from right to education and health, the proposed bill includes things like right to fair administrative action, right to life and right to sexual transformation.

The committee has also decided to furnish a separate report which contains public grievances not related to constitutional reforms.

Highest number of proposals received from Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Galle and Colombo districts, Wijenayake added.

Over 5,000 individuals and organizations have contributed to the public representative on constitutional reforms.

It includes religious, academic, social and professional organizations, NGOs and unions.

The 20-member committee was appointed by the Prime Minister with the approval of the cabinet for the purpose of obtaining proposals from the public for the proposed constitutional reforms.

Committee members headed by Lal Wijenayake were nominated by political parties while some were appointed to represent civil society.

At a function held yesterday to handover the report, Prime Minister stated that the report will be submitted to the Parliament, and by the end of July, expects to get feedback from political parties.