2 December, 2021

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Full Text : Proposals For Constitutional Reform

By Colombo Telegraph

This is the full text prepared by the drafting committee of the National Movement for Social Justice. The draft Bill is being developed on these principles.

Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero -NMSJ

Proposals for constitutional reform

The NMSJ proposes the following to be included in the election manifestos of political parties and candidates and then move on with the amendment immediately after the Elections:

1.Abolition of the Executive Presidency

The Executive Presidency shall be immediately and totally abolished with a return to a Parliamentary form of Government.

The President shall be elected by Parliament and shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister, unless when there is express constitutional provision to the contrary.

No person shall be eligible for election as President or a Vice President unless such person is a citizen of Sri Lanka, has completed the age of 35 years and is qualified for election as a Member of Parliament.

The President shall appoint as Prime Minister, the Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, commands the support of the majority of Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister shall be deemed to have resigned if Parliament passes a motion of no-confidence against him, the Appropriation Bill is not passed and when Parliament is dissolved.

The President shall be the head of the Caretaker Government during Parliamentary elections.

2.Vice Presidents

There shall be two Vice Presidents who shall be from different communities and different to the one to which the President belongs. They would be elected by Parliament.

3.Constitutional Principles:

Proposed Article 8A:

(1) The Republic of Sri Lanka is founded on the following values:
(a) supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law;
(b) representative democracy, human dignity, the achievement of equality and social justice and the advancement of fundamental rights and freedoms;
(c) racial, religious and gender equality; and
(d) universal adult suffrage, regular elections and a multi-party system of democratic government.

(2) Legislation or conduct inconsistent with the Constitution shall be void. It shall be the duty of the State and all persons to respect the Constitution.
(3) The peoples of Sri Lanka who together constitute the People of Sri Lanka have the right to develop their own language, protect their own religion, to develop and promote their culture, to preserve their history and the right to their due share of State power including the right to due representation in institutions of government, without in any way weakening the common Sri Lankan identity. This shall not in any way be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of the Republic.

4.Language

At present, Sinhala is the official Language, Tamil is also an official language and English is the link language. Sinhala and Tamil shall be declared as official languages while all three languages shall be national languages, as was proposed in the Constitution Bill of 2000.

5.The duration of Parliament shall be 5 years.

6.Caretaker Government

There shall be a Caretaker Government during the period of Parliamentary elections. It shall have the powers of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Caretaker Government shall consist of the President, the two Vice-Presidents and a member each appointed by the outgoing Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition who shall not be candidates at the Parliamentary elections.

7.Constitutional Council

The Eighteenth Amendment shall be abolished and the Seventeenth Amendment would be brought back with suitable amendments, including those proposed in the draft report of the Parliamentary Select Committee chaired by Hon. DEW Gunasekera. The composition of the Constitutional Council will be designed to strengthen the 17th Amendment further.

8.Appointments to High Posts and Independent Commissions

Appointments to the following positions shall require the approval of the Constitutional Council:

Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court
President and the Judges of the Court of Appeal
Members of the Judicial Service Commission other than the Chairman
Attorney-General
Auditor-General
Inspector-General of Police
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman)
Secretary-General of Parliament

Members of the following Commissions shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council:

Election Commission
Public Service Commission
National Police Commission
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption
Finance Commission
Delimitation Commission

In the case of the Chairmen of such Commissions, the Council shall recommend three persons for appointment, and the President shall appoint one of the persons recommended as Chairman.

9.Size of Cabinet

The number of Cabinet Ministers shall not be more than 25. The total number of non-Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall not be more than 25 and no other Minister in whatever description would be permitted.

10.Electoral reform

The new electoral system shall be a mix of the first-past-the-post (FPP) and proportional representation (PR) systems. Preferential voting shall be abolished. The ratio between MPs elected under the first-past-the-post (FPP) and proportional representation (PR) systems and also whether proportional representation should be national, provincial or district have to be agreed upon. Reaching agreement would have to be done under the new Parliament and the new electoral system will thus necessitate a further constitutional amendment.

However, political parties could commit themselves to a mix of FPP and PR and doing away with the preferential voting system.

11.Cross-over of MPs

MPs elected on PR lose their seats if they cease to be members of the Party and such vacancies shall be filled by the party. MPs elected on FPP lose their seats but a by-election will be held.

Presently, although an MP who loses membership of the Party loses his seat unless the Supreme Court holds that his expulsion is invalid, MPs go to the District Court and get an injunction, stalling disciplinary proceedings. This could be prevented by providing that the Supreme Court shall have sole and exclusive jurisdiction relating to disciplinary proceedings relating to MPs. This amendment need not wait till a new electoral system is agreed upon.

12.A new fundamental rights chapter

The Bill of Rights mentioned in the National Human Rights Action Plan is a good basis for a new fundamental rights chapter. However, it has not been discussed enough in the country and, as such, this should come after more debate, possibly along with electoral reform. Since the issue of the Right to Information has been widely discussed it could be introduced immediately.

Political parties shall commit themselves to a new Bill of Rights that improves on the present fundamental rights chapter by expanding the scope of civil and political rights and by the inclusion of social, economic, cultural rights as well as women’s and children’s rights.

13.Enforcement of Fundamental Rights

The following provisions can be included immediately.

All existing laws and written laws, except personal laws, shall be read subject to the fundamental rights chapter.
The remedy for infringement of fundamental rights and language rights will be available against all State action. A fundamental rights application may be made by a relative or friend of the aggrieved person or in the public interest. There shall be no time limit for filing an application, as is the case in writ applications.
Although the President is non-executive, he would still perform executive acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. Such executive action shall be subject to judicial review.

In the case of judicial action violating fundamental rights, compensation shall be paid by the State.

14.Constitutionality of legislation

A Bill shall be published in the Gazette at least 2 weeks before being placed in the Order Paper. There will be no “urgent” Bills.

Post-enactment judicial review of legislation shall be permitted.
The Supreme Court shall have power to make a declaration that any law passed by parliament or statute made by a Provincial Council or any provision of any such law or statute is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. However, in order to mitigate hardships that may be caused to persons by who may have acquired certain rights under the legal provisions being struck down, the Court may limit the retrospective effect of the declaration of invalidity or make an order suspending the declaration of invalidity for such period and subject to such conditions as would enable Parliament or a Provincial Council to take steps to make the impugned law or statute cease to be inconsistent with the fundamental rights chapter. The Indian Supreme Court has used the tool of “prospective over-ruling”, limiting the retrospective effect of a declaration of invalidity in appropriate cases. Section 172 of the South African Constitution expressly permits such limitation.
Article 84 (Bills inconsistent with the Constitution) shall be deleted.

15.Impeachment of Judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal

Provisions similar to those found in the Constitution Bill of 2000 shall be introduced. An inquiry will be held, in the case of the Chief Justice by a committee consisting of three persons each of whom hold, or have held, office as a judge in the highest court of any Commonwealth country and in the case of any other judge by a committee consisting of three persons former or present Judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal. The procedure to be followed, the mode of proof, burden of proof and the standard of proof of any alleged misbehaviour or incapacity and the right of the Chief Justice or such Judge to appear before and be heard by such committee in person or by representative shall be provided by law.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    A revision of the present Constitutional arrangement is a necessity.
    It is time for a national debate and discussion in this important matter. But will the omniscient GR agree to this? After all, he now
    calls the shots.

    The Ven. Thero’s draft proposals are silent on the structure of the State and the equality of religions – both of which have caused deep concern in recent times.

    I am sure those more competent in Constitutional Law will make appropriate observations and suggestions.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      Brilliant !
      Hats off to Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero and the National Movement for Social Justice!
      They should take over Lanka which is facing multiple crises and implement this action plan as a Caretaker Govt. The Corrupt and criminal Rajapakse Brothers dictatorship should be disbanded immediately!

    • 0
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      GOOD START !!

      EVEN THE INDIAN SYSTEM OF APPOINTING A FEAGUREHEAD PRESIDENT FROM SMALL COMMUNITIES (WHO OTHERWISE CAN NEVER RISE TO THE TOP) AND ELECTING A WORKING PRIMEMINISTER IS GOOD.

      PROVINCIAL POWER IS PEOPLE POWER !!

    • 0
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      What ever changes depand on elected leader.CBK & DB is most respected executive in the history. But they also same constitution elected.Totally depand on people vote.

  • 0
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    Sounds great. Maybe in the next decade. Or the next century.

  • 0
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    “Mahinda Chintanaya” promised Sri Lanka all these changes.

    Only to do the opposite once in power. That treachery alone is enough to kick the current President, who lied to the whole nation out of Temple Trees, at once.

    If there are idiotic Sri Lankas who still worship this guy and his family, while they strip the nationn of her wealth, well then blame nobody, but yourselves for the current deep, dark hole Sri Lanka finds herself in.

    People who contineu to vote for MR despite all this, should consult a mental health expert at once, to get their heads examined.

  • 0
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    Rajapaksa lovers will never support the abolition of the Executive Presidency. Case closed.

    • 0
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      Neither does Ranil (well, he is a Rajapaksa lover anyway). It seems, he harbours a desire to sit on that chair. He lives in hope!!!

      • 0
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        His next life may be.

        But that is also not sure.

      • 0
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        When did opposition raise the issue in the parliament very recently ?

        I am curious to know what goes through the heads of OPPOSITION LEADERSHIP these days. They just let MR to forget the need of abolishlition of EP.

        Coalition regime is brutal enough – but the opposition is more than failed one. They are just napping while the idiots maraud the nation.

        Ane appoi – the nation is set to helpless.. :(

        • 0
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          Better fit to name the regime – a dictatorship because there is no functional OPPPOSITION in the country.

          So the MR and his siblings have established their totalitarian regime, soon, Mathripala sirisena will be sent home by them as it was the case with LEGALLY appointed CJ for the country – Dr.SB.

          • 0
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            So called leader great vision and his use and throw principle seem to see no limits.

            Intelligent people of the country should come forward to inform the masses of the village folks adequately. Else, the day that the incumbent would name HIS BROTHER as the next Premier of the country is before that long.

            There is no respect to the seniors in that party. As IC point out – MR and the thugs and their politics right at this critical juncture of the country – is irritating. How long all these could go ?

    • 0
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      All known political parties have had their chances to show us, the public, their capabilities and they have all been dismal. The only untested entity is Sarath Fonseka. I’m willing to give him a try. He’s had enough time to lick his wounds and learn what the public wants. He’ll be tough, but then again, can a decadent society like ours be changed with sweet talk. We need a tough task master.

  • 0
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    First step should be liberate both rupavahini and itn from MR family control which will solve half of the problem

  • 0
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    I am not a Buddhist but I will definitely support and even vote for Ven. Sobitha Thero if he decides to come forward as the Common Presidential Candidate. His intentions are very good and he has proved that he does what he says. We can trust him and I am sure majority of the non-Buddhists will support his ideas. Even though he wears Buddhist robes, he is for everybody irrespective of our caste, creed, political beliefs and religion.

    • 0
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      U must mad, never allow these aldies ruin your country and mine tamail ealam…

    • 0
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      Sobitha… Sobitha… Sobitha….

      Thou art the marvellous, the future of our conceived fruit of the womb.
      Thou shall take Serendib to its destiny.
      Thou shall slay the hatred in mankind.

    • 0
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      I am sure even the muslim population too will vote for Sobitha Thero if he comes as a common candidate for the elections.
      Good policy if it can be true ,Sobitha will have to give a good fight to the Rajapuksa brothers & company, to even get an election going !!
      They will never ever give up their ill gotten gold mines which they are guarding with their family band wagon all over the country.
      It is wishful thinking on the part of Sobitha thero and his group.

    • 0
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      Sorry Ronnie. That, although is what would be the best suggestion, cannot be done and will not be tolerated by us Buddhists. He is nurturing a person for this purpose. That’s Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Let us hope this reality takes place.

  • 0
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    According to the draft proposal-10.Electoral reform, “However, political parties could commit themselves to a mix of FPP and PR and doing away with the preferential voting system”

    I disagree-don’t through the baby with the bathwate!

    The preferential system should be retained.

    The preferential systems creates problems only to the political parties, not to the voters.

    The Secretaries of Political parties should not be allowed to decide on the candidates under PR.

    Whether FPP or PR, It should be the voter who will decide the member, not the party secretary.

    If allowed, it will not be democratic. It will allow unpopular politicians without the support of the constituents entering parliament. .

  • 0
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    A good and very welcome first draft on core issues. The wording is thoughtfully done with attention to forestalling loopholes. It embraces some of the important contentious matters and those well versed in the subject have the occasion to debate and to dilate. Devolution is an important core issue that needs to be frontally addressed. It is hoped that the 15 paras will become fully comprehensive. The country has enough competence outside the confines of the traditional draughtsmen.

  • 0
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    This is an excellent and progressive proposal that should ignite widespread debate and hopefully a response from our politicians. I feel that while there is mention of freedom of information, the proposal lacks a comprehensive passage on media reform. Key elements in that paragraph should be freeing state media from government control, detaching private media from business conglomerates which have other interests, and a strengthening of the self-regulatory process.

  • 0
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    The President has been given a deadline to abolish the executive presidiency which is major impediment to the practice of democracy and the conduct of free and fair elections. If he does not act within this period the common opposition will challenge him at the next election with a common candidate to implement the above mentioned proposals and bring about constitutional reform. The common candidate need not be a leader of any political party but a respected leader of civil society entrusted with only the limited mandate to accomplish the above.

    I think that this is a very important step by Ven Sobhitha to bring about change in the country. No doubt he will be able to win the support of the moderate members of the clergy and the majority community as well as significant numbers from the minority. The political opposition which was unable to unite would also support this proposal.

  • 0
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    An important step. Radical changes to our constitution are imperative . I am glad a Buddhist monk has catalysed this initial step. There is much to be debated and modified in these proposals. I personally, prefer a suitably adapted US style constitution, with an inalienable charter of citizens rights. I do not favour the Westminster model, which stopped working for us from day one. We have to improve on the executive presidential system and move in the direction of the US model, in terms of our experience with the present constitution.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0
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    Let us discuss- Liberal Party of Sri Lanka

  • 0
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    “In the case of judicial action violating fundamental rights, compensation shall be paid by the State.”

    Why a compensation paid by the State if the fundamental rights of a person or an entity was deprived or disputed by an infringing herd. The violation itself should be snipped of and a forcible law should be incorporated into the apparatus of the state law stemming it with retributions.

  • 0
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    Great proposals.

  • 0
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    Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero
    National Movement for Social Justice

    Venerable Sir

    You are a showing the qualities of a good Buddhist and a true leader in coming forward to help all the people of Sri Lanka regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds risking the ire of powers that be and the fundamentalists of all stripes. You are the voice of reason and the light of wisdom that can rescue the country before it plunges into total insanity and darkness.

    While your proposals for changing the constitution in order to address the grave situation that we are facing today is highly laudable, I am afraid sufficient emphasis has not been put on the urgent need to forge a new Sri Lankan identity based on citizenship as opposed to identities based on one’s ethnicity, religion and language. May I make some suggestions that would in my humble opinion help overcome the shortcomings:

    1) The constitution should expressly declare that Sri Lanka shall be a secular state where all religions are kept out of state functions.

    2) The constitution should expressly declare that no symbols related to any particular ethnicity, religion or any other sub-national identities should be incorporated in designing the symbols and insignia of the state.

    3) The constitution should expressly declare that Sri Lanka shall be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state which will ensure no one community dominates the state machinery or wields more power by vigorously pursuing and establishing an overarching Sri Lankan identity on all its functions and activities.

    Submitted, Venerable Sir, for your eminent consideration.

    Sincerely

    Rambler

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      The Queen is not just the head of the State but the Church as well, and the King and all the high officials of Norway has to be a Lutheran, and though constitution of the United States mentioned the separation of church and state that doesn’t mean there is no religious dimension in the political society of the United States. So says, Robert N. Bellah in his book “Civil Religion in America”. He says as John F. Kennedy said: “Considering the separation of church and state, how is a president justified in using the word ‘God’ at all? The answer is that the separation of church and state has not denied the political realm a religious dimension.”

      That apart, Ven Sobitha’s proposal will not be acceptable to majority voters. You don’t find them here. So, he won’t get even as much as Fonseka got even if he is the common candidate.
      Leela

      • 0
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        HOW CAN YOU ARGUE BASED ON FONSEKA´S VOTES. ALL OPNINION POLLS AND THE WORLD LEADERS HAD AGREED THAT RAJAPASKHES HAD STOLEN ELECTION VICTORY BY FONSEKA. I CHALLENGE YOU TO INTERVIEW FORMER EC – NO CLUE WHERE HE HAS BEEN TO DATE, AND TRY TO KNOW THE GENUINE STORY BEHIND WHAT THE FRADULENT RAJAPAKSHES DID – SHORTLY AFTER THE ELECTIONS WERE HELD.

        LEELA IF YOU HAVE GUTS PLEASE TRY TO INTERVIEW FORMER EC – this has been a vaccum in lanken and internationl journalism that no fearless journalists brought any articles or video interviews after former EC is no longer in his office. Alone the fact that he reiterated that HELD election was not as previous one – gave signs to any right thinking ones even today believe that RAJAPAKSHES computer manupulations and stolen ballot papers came to surface several times later are prima fasie evidence for trace the truth.

        • 0
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          This issue stays unanswered yet- can any one else please add few facts to this please. I have not read anything about the FORMER EC – and what he has to share about the vote rigging and the manipulations of the statistics to meet their expecations in that last P election. Me being outside of the country, I have no access to any lanken journalists, please help me finding more about the truth of this. Thank you IF ANYONE please add more info in terms of the issue – This is a topic of one of the political science student known to me in EU raised the question repeatedly. Can anyone please add facts to this issue?- Thanks.

        • 0
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          I am no journalist; hence, I cannot interview the former EC. As for the word ‘computer jilmart’, Soma-hansa coined it for political gimmick and expediency. There is no truth in it. If there was a sway, people would have rallied behind SF to oust the government. Leave out the people, even MPs were faint-hearted to follow SF.

          Sri Lanka is a free country. There are no restrictions for anyone to meet anybody. See how ex CJ is moving about. There were complaints about threat to her life. But I see she moves about freely as all others do.

          My estate is at the village where Ven. Sobitha’s mother was born and bred. So, I know all his mother’s family members. Except very few, they are all staunch SLFP backers. I doubt even they’ll vote him if he chose to contest.

          Contrary to all what you have written, the Presidential election was fair and SF hadn’t win it.

          Just mark the electorates that SF won. You’ll see all them were Tamil majority seats or Sinhala Buddhists are a minority like Colombo. If Rajapakse cheated the election, why didn’t he cheat at least some of them as well.

          Next he won all the Sinhala Buddhist majority seats. At the following election, I mean, the general election Rajapakse’s party won all of the seats he won at the Presidential election. No candidate for GE complained there was cheating. How is that.

          Odd cheating may be but no organized cheating.
          Leela

          • 0
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            My dear Leela, you have raised a very important issue. Yes, Gen. Fonseka won with huge majorities in the North and East where the majority of the election staff members were Tamil speaking Sri Lankan oficials and they knew the results prior to sending to Colombo and they couldn’t be bought over or silenced by the thugs. If you just enquire from other areas, almost all had voted for Gen. Fonseka but the results were upside down. Moreover, Gen. Fonseka fought the war with the LTTE and there would have been a number of LTTE sympathisers who wouldn’t have voted for him but if the results in the Tamil speaking areas were in favour of Gen. Fonseka, then the Sinhalese areas would have been more than that. It was well planned to send their henchmen to man the counting centres.

            • 0
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              Ronny,
              Why not you give an explanation against my analogy about high voting pattern for SF at central hills and Colombo as well. I knew not of many Tamil counting officers there. But SF had won in those areas as well.

              As I said in many of my comments even then, Fonseka lead the ground battles through his battle front commanders but the war had been waged by Rajapkses. The real war was fought at the domestic and international political front. I need not elaborate what had taken place. What is important is, average Sinhala Buddhists know all of it and remember it. Tamil separatists and their sympathisers knew it. Only those jokers who said ‘any fool could fight a war’, ‘Thoppigala is only a jungle’, Alimankada Pamnkada’ that ridiculed army gains when they were fighting hard pretended not to know it. They portrayed Fonseka had won the war to garner votes. But the trick didn’t work.

              TNA, Tamil Diaspora of all types, Eelamists and their backers had identified their real enemy at the time very correctly. We had observed those in the face book, twitter and etc. We have also read them in communiqués of NGO and their paymasters. All of them chose SF for they foresaw his loose coalition would tatter soon. And that would have brought instability to Sri Lanka. You can still read my comments about this at the time in the Leader. All these Rajapakse haters still look for ways to knock him down.

              Sinhala Buddhists are not uneducated or stupid as you all think. They knew all this then, they know it now. That’s why Rajapakse won then and is winning now.
              Leela

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            Hey Lady Leela ,

            “There is no truth in it. If there was a sway, people would have rallied behind SF to oust the government.”

            Why do you try to mislead readers all the time? do you think all the people are dumb & deaf like you ?
            soon after that great day light robbery , people were getting ready to oust the junta , you know what happened ? junta banned all the rallies & gathering (used that draconian emergency regulations ) until general elections , i know you have conditional limited memory , do a Google search and find out who is telling the truth !

          • 0
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            Thanks for your responses.

            But why you think that Ven Sobitha thero would candidate for PE ? He has just suggested the amendments to consitution. Besides, he has done so since nothing has suggested sofar from the topleadership in terms of the issue, though they repeatedly boast about 2/3 majority in the current parliament.

            And dont you think that Venerable thero´s vision is miles away from the incumbent pres of the country. If MR is said to be that magical why did he fail to handle the matter with impeachment process and the improvement of human rights since the first UNO resolution is passed against us ?

            Why your great leader seems to be failing in implementation of let alone the simple steps of the LLRC report as he himeself promised to INDIA and the other IC.

            And what reason you would give why the translation of LLRC inTO Sinhala and Tamil took over 10 months – as Dr. Sara pointed out in his conferences lately ? Was LLRC just to satisfy the IC but not the lanken people ? What do you have got to say about all these ?

            Please respond to this, I am over confused …

            • 0
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              Sama,
              Prof Kumar David has been promoting Ven Sobitha as the common candidate for PE; not me. You may not know that Ven Sobitha had been a rebel all his life. Throuhout his life, he has never backed a government in power. Once his Mussolini like image was in the front cover for Time. Apart from spreading Dhamma, I do not know any other thing he has done to the country. Ah’ I forgot, he was involved in all sorts of protests.

              As for your query on LLRC, I recommend you read Malinda Seneviratne’s article dateline 7th and my comment therein.

              On questions said to have raised by Dr. Sara, I say he had a ‘God’ given chance to find a solution for Tamils when his pal ChandrikaK was elected President with an unprecedented majority in 1994. But they miserably failed to manage realpolitik seen at the time that was necessary to achieve their target. And that cannot be blamed on Rajapakses for Rajapakses are not elected to carry out Sara’s or his paymasters agenda.
              Leela

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            “If Rajapakse cheated the election, why didn’t he cheat at least some of them as well.”

            First, He cheated sri Lankans Whole sale With his goon ministers.
            And later the whole world,
            See what happened at U N.

            Hamuduruwane ;
            Will they [ the ruling family] allow you to present your proposal, and implement those good governing rules.

            But i hope you are not afraid of white vans????.

            BLESSINGS OF TRIPLE GEMS for all of you.

          • 0
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            Chinese hackers helped him. Chinese are master hackers! They know how to get the money here from the accounts in China on online!

        • 0
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          Sama,
          Mondayas, sorry part ers of genocide will never agree on this. They still wants him to win agai and again using Chinese Hackers!

      • 0
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        @Leela

        I have to reluctantly agree with you on your final point. Yes…those of us who comment here are not part of the majority that supports MR and his crooked family. Quite a sizable amount is out there ready to have this depot rule them until he kicks the bucket. As I have stated many times before in my comments, under the 18th amendment we can never expect a free and fair election. All MR needs is for a sizable number of people to vote for him, and the rest of the numbers needed to win will be added through a computer jilmart. The executive presidency can only be abolished once the Rajapaksas’ are abolished. It’s going to be a very long wait unless the UNP, JVP, TNA, SLMC, CWC, Fonseka, Chandrika, Sobitha thero etc put their differences aside and form a common opposition. After that they need to get onto the streets in force and organize massive Jana Bala Meheumas like what was done in the past…only something like this along with the rising cost of living could inspire the masses to revolt against the despotic Rajapaksa family.

        • 0
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          I fully agree with your comment but it will be useless UNLESS THE ELECTIONS ARE CONDUCTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS OR THE COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT OR BY ANY OTHER FOREIGN ORGANIZATION. We know very well that Gen. Fonseka won the Presidential Elections with the support of the UNP, JVP and a number of other Opposition parties. If we take just UNP and JVP votes, he would have obtained nearly or over 50% of the votes. For all the future elections, the dictatorial group have already planned to send their henchmen to all the counting centres by appointing their supporters in the Government Service who will be manning those centres and also the police officers to support the dictator. This is the reason why I say that all our future elections should be conducted by outsiders with the assistance of local workers. We cannot trust anymore the elections in Sri Lanka. The Opposition hasn’t got to do much to oust the dictatorial regime if the elections are conducted in a very free and fair manner. The priority is to hold the elections in this way and the most vulnerable places are the counting centres and also during transportation of ballot boxes from the polling booths to the counting centres.

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            Bean and Ronny
            So, you want to win elections by hook or by crook eh. Man. if you want to win elections, explore, why Rajapakse is winning rather than making absurd allegations. At least do a study as to why none of the opposition parties can organize a successful rally.

            I’ll tell you the answer. You don’t read the values of the majority and what’s in the mind of the majority.
            Leela

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              I would like to know the followings from you all:

              Can anyone (living in SL ) please just guess at how many of the Lanken population bear the views that constantly add by Leela to this and other threads ? Regardless of the topic that CT readers discuss.

              How many among the buddhists are in the opinion that BBS is literary a facist segment emerged to destroy the peaceful buddhist life in SL ?

              Please add the percentages – many thanks – just trying to

      • 0
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        Leela,

        The US constitution and its wisdom permitted a Catholic – John F. Kennedy- to become the President in a largely Protestant nation. It also permitted a half black/ half white, fathered by a Kenyan Muslim – Barak Hussein Obama- to become the President., in a largely white country. We should also forget that Tony Blair- a Catholic- was elected Prime Minister thrice in a country whose Queen is the head of the Anglican Church. India has had several Muslims as heads of state and now has a Sikh – a minority- Prime Minister. We have had also Tamils and half- Tamils as Kings in our history. They were Kings to all the peoples in their domain. There are many such examples around the world. The constitution should be above human prejudices and present a transcending vision. It should be enabling and not restrictive. Every citizen should be equal in the eyes of the constitution, laws and the state. This is what we should aim at. We should not enshrine our prejudices and a majoritarian thinking in a constitution. We are all humans and our needs as citizens should be addressed on this basis.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,
          Not only some of our kings were Tamil or half Tamil, they say JRJ and Banda are half Sinhalas as well. Who cares what you were, what matters is what you are. Benjamin Disraeli was a born Jew but once Baptised he was a devout Anglican. He would not have become queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister had he stay Jewish. When one joins French legionnaires, he becomes one of them. So, I would have voted Laxman Kadirgamar to be our President with both hands had he contested. I cannot say the same thing for separatists backers and religious extremists.

          To tell you the truth, Obama would never have been elected President had he not dropped the religion of his father. Now he is backing Israel better than his predecessors. And Guantánamo Bay prison stays there with its Muslim prisoners in spite of his repeated promises to close it. He knows, he wouldn’t last in his job otherwise.

          Contrary to what you say about positions held by minorities in India, Tamils nationalists expected Kamaraj to be the Indian Prime Minister after Nehru and not Shastri. They say, Kamaraj was disillusioned for Hindians stabbed behind his back because he didn’t speak Hindi or rather refused to give speeches in Hindi. Anyway, I do not see prejudices in JRJ’s constitution. Do you?
          Leela

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            Leela,

            Thanks for the very commendable reply. As to JRJ’ s constitution it was a highway to greatness, but land mined at every step! It was a reflection of his personality, which was Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde , simultaneously and not in turns.

            Dr. RN

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    Venerable Thera:

    Where should Buddhist go to ask preferred place for Sinhala Buddhist Civilization ?

    Any other country that they can go ask ?

    Here we are talking about politics and not the Buddhism.

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      Ven Sobitha is trying to bring civility back to Sinhala/Tamil/Muslim/Sri Lankan civilisation.

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    IF this Cheevara Dhari becomes a Good PRactising Buddhist, What else in this practical wolrd except the Buddhism which is the Movement for Social Justice.

    Gauthama Buddha brought Social Justice to a society which did not have any social justice.

    What social justice can bring by a political movement ?

    You may do social justice to one faction at the expense of another.

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      Why dont you raise the issue with them directly ? I mean there are siginificant numbers of great buddhists monks are in SL. But majority of them that support to the particular BBS are violent – they the safron robed pseudo monks – are criminals to my eye when seeing they vandalize public properties in the presence of police. So how can you share the view with your young ones that would raise the question why the buddhist monks today behave in this way.. while police stay watching it…. ?

      I am doubt that the rulers have investigated the incident properly and punished the monk for his crime to date ?

      On the picture of current article you will see a great buddhist monk who has always been decent but pointing out the the blind rulers what is right and what is wrong.

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    Very good beginning Venerable Sir! This is a good basis for moving forward. Let all parties respond. If MR does nor agree, then let us have the broadest colation possible on this basis not only to change the regime but also to have a democratic set up. Then we can all together tackle the other problems, including the ethnic issue. But without defeating MR, nothing will happen. This is the only way out.

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    A good beginning. It is heartening to find that some sort of “awakening” is taking place in the country and that itself hopefully send some “shock waves” to arrogant and egocentric administrative family that had made the “governance” of public affairs a “lucrative Business Venture”. Also, let this be a strong signal to the outside world who are hell bent on interfering with our internal governing functions to know that we Sri Lankans are capable of doing things in our own way and bring solutions to own problems. They must understand that no setting of standards to our own systems will ever be tolerated.

    Rev. Sir: A word of caution to you. You must choose your partners with due care in this pursuit as otherwise it will be a waste of time and energy.

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    I agree with all the proposals except the one to bring in the first past the post system.The proportional representation is much better because it reflects the true strengh of the party than the firsst past the post system.We know what happened when Sirima got a thumping majority inder the first past the post system.Mixing that with the prportional one now is like mixing bad medicine with good medicine,diluting the good one.

    I also don’t agree with doing away with the preferential system.Nothing wrong with that and I can see no reason to do away with it.I don;t think it is great asset,but at the same time it is not a liability.

    I don’t agree with the parliamentary term to be 5 years.The MP’s take a good rest in the first year after all the campaigning etc.They stary only working in the third year and maybe work hard in the last year before the election.To put continous pressure on them a election should be looming round the corner.In Australia it is 3 years and in the US 4 years.W can adopt the US system of 4 years,so opposition need not wait for 5years to come to power if the people want a change,when they find out that a government is not meeting their expectations and has as usual taken them for a ride.Change the bastards as soon as possible should be the motto to maintain the pressure on them and get a better and better quality into parliament.

    One important proposal that has been missed is to bring into the constitution a cap on the administrative cost of the country.For example if the budget is for one billion the variable cost of the budget should be let us say 80% and the fixed cost should be 20%.Now it must be the other way about.then the people don’t get the benefit of the revenue and it all goes to the administration of the country.Variable costs that change with the size of the economy.So if we spend on something that will increase the economy then that is good for the country but if we go on spending more and more on non productive areas such as fixed overheads that are not directly contributing to the size of the economy then it is a waste of scarce resources.That is why the people should be safeguarded with some financial clauses in the constitution because the peoples representative self interest conflicts with that of the people.

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    Good set of proposals but sadly it will only remain a dream for all Sri Lankans ;-(

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      Do you prefer Sharia Law?

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        Jungle Law. Brothers keeping one wife, like your ancesstors!

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          DODU

          Mind your language.

          In the jungle we have law of our own which work very well unlike in the urban jungle.

          You say:

          ” Brothers keeping one wife, like your ancesstors!”

          What do you mean?

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    Kumaratunga lied to the people. She also robed the people. Rajapassa lied more, and stole and still steals like there is no tomorrow. So if they come forward and promis all these things do we believe them?

    I am not a Buddhist. If sobitha thero comes forward Only to achieve this end I would vote for him with out any hesitation.
    Ranil W in my opinion needs to get his head examined. He hears no one else’s opinion. He thinks he knows it all. And is doing more damage to Sri Lanka from the opposition imagine him, with these executive powers ,in that seat!!!!! He will be worse than Jayawardana

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    Looks like something good for open discussion.

    I would like to suggest to add qualifications / criteria to select to nomination lists for elections.

    1. Educational qualifications: A/L pass or more
    2. Social service/philanthropists: voluntary work done for social welfare.
    3. Having a clean record free from criminal, drug offences, corruption and other vices (owners of brothels, vine shops, betting centers , casinos, ect)

    When selecting the Cabinet of ministers they should have ample experience or knowledge of the subject. They should at least hold a post A/L qualification, (higher education degree/ diploma).

    There should be committees of expertise to have planning for the country as a whole in Education , health, infarstucture, Avaiation, irrigation, agriculture, constitutional reforms, etc. These policies should be independent of political motives (profit and personal projection of a politician/party). The main objective should be the best for the country and its people. When a policy is made with the best interest for the country this should be implemented by any party coming to power. Then there will be sustainable development.

    Depoliticize all public services and police.

    We need servant leaders to equally distribute the wealth of our nation among the common people.

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    I am born to Sinhalese Buddhist parents but I can’t say I am a Sihalese Buddhist.
    However, This is a rare occasion I get to acknowledge wisdom of Sinhalese Buddhist monk.
    I personally against and disgusted by the acts of most of Buddhist monks in politics
    But, with this sort of suggestions and courage, I beleive you can be a savior of this misarable but capable nation. I will promise I will do my best to support you if you contest/challenge SL presidency in an election —

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      “Monks, there are these four courses of action. Which four? There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable.

      “Now as for the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, one considers it as not worth doing for both reasons: because the course of action is unpleasant to do, one considers it as not worth doing; and because the course of action, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, one considers it as not worth doing. Thus one considers it as not worth doing for both reasons.

      “As for the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be known — in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort — as a fool or a wise person. For a fool doesn’t reflect, ‘Even though this course of action is unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.’ So he doesn’t do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, ‘Even though this course of action is unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.’ So he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.

      “As for the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be known — in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort — as a fool or a wise person. For a fool doesn’t reflect, ‘Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.’ So he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, ‘Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.’ So he doesn’t do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.

      “As for the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable, one considers it as worth doing for both reasons: because the course of action is pleasant to do, one considers it as worth doing; and because the course of action, when done, leads to what is profitable, one considers it as worth doing. Thus one considers it as worth doing for both reasons.

      “These are the four courses of action.”
      (c) –“Thana Sutta: Courses of Action” (AN 4.115), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 3 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.115.than.html . Retrieved on 6 April 2013.

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      I have not been in the island for the last two decades. My source of info are through online info. So to my knowledge why the Buddhist monks have come forward with political issues could more likely be the lack of sufficient vision of the ruling politicians. Many that are in power seem to be not honest at all – when compared to the ones that mother lanka produced in the past – today politicians dont make genuine efforts whatever the matter it is. They just abuse the system. No respect to their voters. This is common to top leadership to the PC MPs. Alone the fact that BBS and its open violations are not investigated properly by ministry of Justice – is unbelievable to me as one who has been living on the west.

      Alone politicians public speeches are not civlized enough to encourage the youth and future generations. There are ministers to the numbers that the state cant afford itself – top leader ship would not raise the question why each ministry failed to perform well – what talks – how can crabs teach their offsprings to walk straight ?

      As former President CBK pointed out politicians today are comparable fradulent business people. General public is also made passive observers as no other times before.

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    Thank you Ven. Sobitha for initaiting this dialogue. Your document affords a good basis. MR will never agree to the proposals. The challenge is now to the Opposition parties. I think MR can be defeated if a wide electoral coalition is built up. There will be dissidents from the SLFP who will join if they see some chance of defeating MR. The Muslim and Hill Country Tamil parties will also be forced to join. Much as I would have liked to see further devolution also included, I think it will be prudent to first abolish the Executive Presidency. Also, MR must not be given an opportunity to raise the communal cry at the election. Of course, the main parties in the broad coalition can agree among themselves about the next stage of refrom-n devolution, electoral reform etc. No need to put all the eggs in the same basket and getbthem all broken. Need to be pragmatic.

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    This should be commendable from all that wholeheartedly expect the change in the current consitution.

    Suggested reforms can only a part of the consitution – when comparing with the constituions of each of EU countries. For example, that of Germany´s is like a bible – our people would surprise seeing those complicated constituions – because they have discussed longer and throughtfully before bringing it. And amendments to it are being made almost whenever issues arise that have no sufficient provisions in the prevailing one.

    However,I wonder while they the rulers of the country today boast on the 2/3 mandate and the war victory they benefit not uttering a single word about the abolishing of EP yet ? It is high time journalists to interview the president F2F to get to know what he is currently thinking of the all these changes.

    This great thero is being blamed that he has gone beyond his margins – again shooting the messeger – he has found that nobody in the topleadership is paying genuine efforts of abolishing the prevailing one – and that is the reason why he has fearlessly brought his proposals.

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    May be a bad idea to have “two Vice Presidents who shall be from different communities and different to the one to which the President belongs”

    This will introduce a new sense of ethnic consciousness, as during the Manning reforms. The constitution should be blind to thing s like race and religion.

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      In a country where a person who is not Sinhala Buddhist cannot even dream of becoming President or PM, let the minorities at least get top ceremonial posts. Such an arrangement will at least give them some recognition.

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        Thats naive. U will only draw attention to the differences rather than help to forge a single SL identity. Also u will have fellows being appointed vice president simply due to his ethnicity rather than acievement. In any case, where in the world do you have such appointments like this?

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          oh! do a google search and you will see.

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        can a non-christian be president in UK/US?

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    This is what i have been waiting and dreaming, we need a fool proof rock-solid system with minimum loop holes. its always good to examine and pick good points from US, Australia , UK ( ? ) ,Canada , India , south Africa etc constitutions. I would like to add the following points to the on going discussion.

    1) Elections need to be held on a predetermined date, ideally after 4 years, on the 2nd week of December ( this is to avoid serving regime taking the undue advantage of a prevailing situation , i.e tsunami , war victory , UN sanctions etc )

    2) Prime minister , he or she must be a sri lankan citizen and must not be a dual citizen or a foreign passport holder , he or she must not have any convictions and must have a clean record.

    3) All the politicians, their spouses, siblings, off springs, extended family members must declare their wealth prior to elections and needs to annually update in a very transparent manner.

    4) Any person finds violating any of the election laws must be barred from contesting again.

    5) National policies for education, health and foreign must be introduced.
    6) All the government media institutions must be independent.

    7) if possible try to have all the other elections in one day ( this is to avoid squandering colossal amount of tax payer money , reduce environmental pollution & violence etc )

    8) Un or foreign supervised elections, their role must commence on or before the nomination date and needs to conclude only after the smooth transition of power.

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    Excellent, Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, a True Son of Sri Lanka and a True Disciple of Enlightened Buddha, that any Buddhist and non-Buddhist Sri Lankan will be proud of, Sri Lanka needs more of these True Sons and Daughters.

    The United States Constitution was drafted and put together by Thomas Jefferson and with input by John Adams, and bot of them ended up being Presidents. It paved the way for the French and Turkish Constitutions and has withstood 236 years, despite many calamities. Sri Lanka needs such a constitution, that can withstand the next 236 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution

    “Bill of Rights”
    Main article: United States Bill of Rights
    The National Archives displays the Bill of Rights as one of the three “Charters of Freedom”. The original intent of these first ten Amendments was to restrict Congress from abusing its power. For example, the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – was ratified by the states before all states had, of their own accord, disestablished their official churches.

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    Another alternative could be a Sinhala Buddhist President and an
    indigenous Tamil PM with one VP to alternate between Muslims, Burghers
    and the Sinhala Christian community every two years. Multi-racial/religious Lebanon has something similar to this.

    Senguttuvan

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      ISS,
      Just inquisitive. How do you define indigenous Tamil? Is Pirapakaran an indigenous Tamil?
      Leela

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        How do you then define indigenous Sinhalese ?

        Why to provoke tamils ? I am SRILANKEN then a sinhalese :)

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          Sama

          I am Vedda first and Vedda second and Vedda last.

          In this island only Veddahs qualify as indigenous people, I would call the rest as Kallathonies from North South India.

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            If Native Vedda is truly a ‘Vedda first’ and ‘Vedda second’ and ‘Vedda last’, he must be living with his kith and kin in Bintenna or Vanni and working for the benefit of them. Alas, this Native Vedda is no gus Vedda but an imposter. The fct tht he chose to live in the midst of the developed world, enjoying all luxuries available to him there at the same time he wants all his kith and kin remain Vedda with a lion cloth for ever shows his Hypocrisy.

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              Hello Lady Leela

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              I am no Vedda but Vedda lover

              Leela reincarnate of many names and forms should realise its time one learned prehistory not from Mahawamsa but from Archaeology.

              Simply this is not your land therefore it is none of your business to tell us how we breed, live and love.

              You pseudonym “I am no Vedda but Vedda lover” should have been changed to “I am no Vedda but lover of Vedda land”.

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      Why does a Tamil have to have more chances of a ” permanent” VP position.. ” fats like oil always comes to the surface” u seem to have racist thinking in you…..

      All positions need to be decided by the citizens, from President to a Grama sevaka.. Citizens are the ones who has to decide and People need to be ELECTED not SELECTED….

      GW Bush of USA was Selected by the Supeme court on his 2nd term, he was not Elected….

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