GL calls for following procedure without rush

Implementing 19A


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Prof. G. L. Peiris, MP yesterday said that one of the key objectives of the 19 Amendment would be lost in case seven persons, including three ex-officio members were allowed to appoint eleven Independent Commissions without its civil society nominees in violation of the new piece of law.

Prof. Peiris emphasized that the process couldn't get underway under any circumstances until political parties represented in parliament agreed on the three civil society nominees to the Constitutional Council.

The former External Affairs Minister said that it would be the responsibility of the government to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the appointment of civil society members as well as non-appointment of anyone holding ministerial portfolios as members of the Constitutional Council.

Accusing the government of seeking to circumvent procedures to achieve its political objectives, Prof. Peiris urged the UNP not to negate primary purpose and objectives of the 19 Amendment.

The MP said that the UNP couldn't rush things at the expense of broad-based process. Asked whether those who had been campaigning for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's return to active politics were trying to sabotage the process, Prof. Peiris insisted that the issue was the absence of consultations in naming civil society members.

Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva had named three civil society members without consulting them (the Opposition). The Leader of the Opposition acknowledged his failure to engage in proper consultations announcing the three civil society nominees, namely Dr A.T. Ariyaratne; former UN Under-Secretary General Radhika Coomaraswamy and retired Supreme Court Justice Abdul Waheed Abdul Salam.

JHU heavyweight Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka as the President's representative, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP R. Sampanthan as the representative of minority parties, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as the Prime Minister's nominee and John Seneviratne as the Opposition Leader's nominee are the four parliamentary members appointed to the Council.

The original UNP proposal was to have seven civil society representatives and three ex-officio members, though the government gave in to the SLFP call to restrict 'outsiders' to three and seven members of parliament. The three ex-officio members of the CC are the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker.


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