COLOMBO: On January 9, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will kick-start the constitutional reform process, which was promised in the run-up to the January 8, 2015, Presidential election, touted as a struggle to restore democracy in the island nation. An announcement from the Lankan parliament said on Tuesday that the Prime Minister will move a resolution to form a ‘Constitutional Assembly’ (CA) comprising the entire membership of Parliament. The CA will be charged with the task of drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka. The Speaker of the current parliament will be the Chair of the CA. He will be assisted by seven Deputy Chairs.
The Srisiena-Wickremesinghe government intends to abolish the Executive Presidency and bring into being an electoral system which will do away with the politically debilitating preferential vote system and be more democratic. Among other aims of the reform process is the promotion of ethnic and religious reconciliation and the Rule of Law.
This will be third time independent Sri Lanka will be reworking its Constitution. The Colonial Constitution, which tied Sri Lanka to Britain despite independence, was replaced by a Republican Constitution in 1972. But in 1978, a new constitution replaced the UK style with a Presidential system. A distinguishing feature of the constitutional exercise is that the Tamils, the largest minority, will be participating for the first time.
Graduate Lanka Refugees Keen to Return
With a fresh hope to live a peaceful life in their homeland in a post-war scenario, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are keen on returning to the island nation. Of late, Sri Lanka has been offering jobs in provinces where Tamils live. Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena had announced that special the Presidential Task Force would resettle Tamils to their original places within six months. This has stirred the Sri Lankan Tamil youth studying in Tamil Nadu and they are planning to return for employment.