19 A not panacea for all problems-Mangala


"A new constitution that addresses the concerns and grievances of the minorities is the urgent need to be addressed by the next parliament. The resolution of our ethnic conflict, which continues after war, is sine qua non for Sri Lanka’s march forward toward peace and prosperity."


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament on Tuesday that the 19 Amendment alone would not be the panacea for all problems Sri Lanka was faced with.

Minister Samaraweera said that the reduction of the executive powers of the Presidency would be only one important step in the challenging journey that we, as a nation, must undertake in order to create a new Sri Lanka.

April 28 should be remembered as the day which heralded the beginning of the end of the all powerful executive presidential system in our country, the foreign minister said. The minister said: " Since introducing the First Republican constitution in 1972 we have journeyed from a Westminster form of government to an all-powerful Executive Presidency introduced by the Second Republican constitution. However both these Republican constitutions proved to be inadequate to meet the dreams and aspirations of all the communities, ethnic groups and religious groups living in our country. "

"The 19th Amendment abolished many of the executive powers of the presidency while retaining the executive nature of the presidency. "

"The Supreme Court held that in order to abolish many of the other powers, a referendum would be needed. Therefore it will be the task of the next parliament to completely abolish the executive system in favour of a fully-fledged parliamentary democracy."

"We know that this unaccountable system was in many ways at the root of many of the most pressing national problems. It is at the root of the culture of impunity and the widespread corruption that we experienced over the last few years."

"It is in the context of such experiences, that President Maithripala Sirisena was given a mandate to abolish the executive presidential system. The citizens of Sri Lanka and indeed future generations will applaud President Sirisena for taking resolute action to fulfill his promises to the people, within the parameters of the Supreme Court ruling."

The minister added; "I am hopeful that the new Parliament, to be elected by the people later this year, will shed divisive politics and unite on issues of national significance. In particular, I am hopeful that that new Parliament will do what many other governments attempted but failed to do - to introduce a new constitution, in fact ‘the Third Republican constitution’ of Sri Lanka.

"A new constitution, which will celebrate Sri Lanka’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and pluralism and meet the aspirations of all the peoples of Sri Lanka. Whether it is the tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities or the Sinhalese and Muslim communities, eradicating the motivation for terrorism and violence requires us to go beyond dealing with its symptoms. The root causes of ethnic conflict need to be addressed once and for all, constitutionally. Along with democracy, rule of law and human rights, reconciliation and ethnic harmony must be the foundation for the new Sri Lanka we all dream about.

"Under the leadership of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, I am certain that we will form and implement a consensus on the national question that has evaded previous governments. We will use our collective political will to construct a great peace for our country."


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