Constitutional proposal: UNP’s stand on unitary state contradictory – rebel UNPer

by Shamindra Ferdinando

 The recently unveiled UNP proposal for a new constitution had assured the electorate that a draft Constitution would be submitted for endorsement at a referendum within six months of the formation of a UNP government, but the problem was that the present UNP leadership did not know how to capture power a rebel UNPer said.

The next presidential and parliamentary polls are scheduled for 2016.

Those who had prepared the proposal had no idea of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s game plan, the rebel UNPer said on the condition of anonymity, while comparing the UNP project to an attempt by a fielding side to change the wicket to dismiss a batsman.

However, the UNPer said the country shouldn’t continue to have the executive presidential system at the expense of democratic rights of the people, though some sought to justify the continuation of that institution to ensure political stability. It was high time the country got rid of the executive presidency, he said.

Unfortunately, the ruling coalition was thriving due to the failure on the part of the Opposition to adopt a cohesive strategy to challenge it, the UNP rebel said, adding that one of the most important features in the draft proposal was the UNP’s commitment to a unitary status.

Asked whether the party felt comfortable with changing its long-standing position on devolution of power, the UNP MP said that it was a good move on the part of the leadership to announce commitment to the unitary status, while assuring genuine devolution of powers to the provinces.

Regrettably, the party had contradicted its commitment to a unitary status by promising to take into consideration the joint communiqué issued by the government and the UNSG Ban Ki-moon in May 2009, US resolution moved against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over accountability issues, as well as the Prof. Tissa Vitharana report, which dealt with the national issue, the rebel  claimed. "Unitary status means the party couldn’t accommodate the joint communiqué, US resolution or Prof. Vitharana’s recommendations."


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