9 December, 2019

Blog

Taking Back Sovereignty Lost

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka´s first Constitution, introduced in 1947 when it was called Ceylon, came in two parts; the Ceylon Independence Act of 1947 and the Orders in Council of 1946 and 1947 – known collectively as the Ceylon (Constitution and Independence) Orders in Council of 1947. All, read together, became known as the Soulbury Constitution, under which Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, gained independence from Britain, in 1948.

While the Constitution gained its name from the man who chaired a commission appointed to draft the Independence Act, H.A.J. Hulugalle, who was the Editor of the Ceylon Daily News at that time, described how the Soulbury constitution is based almost entirely on a draft prepared in 1944 by Hon. D.S. Senanayake and his board of ministers, who were in turn advised by Sir Ivor Jennings.[i]

Don Stephen Senanayake and his board of ministers boycotted the Soulbury Commission sittings in the pretext that the then government of Britain went back on its promise to implement a draft prepared by the board of Ministers, while in actual fact, they did so to avoid what could have been a lengthy confrontation with minority leaders, which in turn would have led to delays in gaining independence.

Behind the scenes, using their friendship and contacts with Lord Mountbatten and others within the British government at that time, Sir Oliver, D.S, and others like D.R.Wijewardene influenced Lord Soulbury to adopt the draft constitution of 1944, with one addition, a second chamber or a senate to ensure a system of checks and balances. This too was not entirely Lord Soulbury´s idea – instead, it came from a previous bill, submitted by Home Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike – with the tacit if not direct support of D.S. – the Ceylon (Constitution) Bill also known as Sri Lanka Bill of 1945, passed by the State Council with 40 votes to 7.

The Soulbury Constitution saw eight amendments made to it, the last being in 1971, when Act number 36 of 1971 was made to abolish the Senate, the instrument proposed by Hon. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, and adopted by Lord Soulbury to introduce checks and balances to the fledgling democracy of Ceylon in 1947.

In 1972, the United National Front government of Hon. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, convened a constitutional assembly to promulgate a radically new constitution, dropping the last vestiges of colonialism, appointing a non-executive President instead of the governor-general and introducing the concept of fundamental rights to the constitution – rights that were earlier covered in Article 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, but not defined directly as fundamental rights, simply because the concept of fundamental rights emerged with the promulgation first of the League of Nations and later through the United Nations after the Second World war, and after Lord Soulbury wrote that first constitution.

It also dropped the safeguards introduced by Madame Bandaranaike´s slain husband, S.W.R.D, – the Senate – which acted as a brake, though not sufficiently enough as due to a flawed implementation of the concept, the Senate too reflected the power parity of the government in power. It also did away with two institutions, the public services commission and the judicial services commission, that acted as a buffer between the politicians, the government servants and the judiciary.

This republican constitution was amended twice, first in 1975 to change the basis of delimitation of constituencies and then, after the change of government in 1977, to bring in the Executive Presidency.[ii]

Hon. J.R.Jaywardene became the first Executive President of Sri Lanka, not under the 1978 constitution, but under the 1972 constitution.

I was elected to parliament in 1977, when the UNP garnered a massive majority in the parliament under the first past the post system. I am one of the few remaining members of the parliament who were directly involved in the deliberations that went into making the 1978 constitution.

WWW.PRIU.GOV.LK, the Official Website of the Data and Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat, describes the 1978 constitution thus:

      “Before the 1977 General Election the UNP also sought a mandate from the people to adopt a new Constitution. A Select Committee was appointed to consider the revision of the Constitution. The new Constitution, promulgated on 7 September 1978, provided for a unicameral Parliament with legislative power and an Executive President. The term of office of the President and of Parliament is six years. It also introduced a Proportional Representation system. The Parliament was to consist of 196 Members, but the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution later increased this to 225.

      The Constitution provided for an independent Judiciary and guaranteed Fundamental Rights, providing for any aggrieved person to invoke the Supreme Court for any violation of his rights. The Constitution also provided for a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) who could investigate public grievances against Government Institutions and State officers and give redress. It also introduced a Proportional Representation system, anti-defection laws, and Referenda on certain Bills and on issues of national importance.” (http://www.priu.gov.lk/Cons/1978Constitution/ConstitutionalReforms.htm)

The five-sixth majority the UNP obtained in 1977, worried President Jayewardene. He was to say later that he could do anything other than to make a woman a man, not out of pride, but to illustrate the danger of that much of power being concentrated in the hands of one person.

The 1978 Constitution bought back the Public Services and the Judicial Services commissions, and introduced the proportional representation system. The PR system sought to negate to a degree possible the imbalance of representative power where a party which obtains less than 50% of the popular vote can dominate the parliament with more than a two-thirds majority under the simple first-past-the-post system.

The 1978 constitution then saw a series of amendments, most under successive UNP governments, with the last amendment bought under a UNP government, being the 16th amendment, while the 17th amendment was passed unanimously by all parties represented in the parliament in 2001, during President Chandrika Bandaranaike´s tenure. Here too, the UNP took the initiative and the lead, along with other opposition parties to bring the amendment to the parliament.

The 13th amendment made substantial changes to how power was devolved to the provinces, and the 17th amendment sought to re-professionalize and de-politicize the government servants, the judiciary, the police and a host of other institutions, including the Election Commission, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, the Finance Commission and the Delimitation Commission. All other amendments were mostly to improve on sections of the constitution that proved to be non-confirmatory to situations that arose from time to time. (To see a full list of amendments made to the 1978 constitution, up to the 17th amendment, visit http://www.priu.gov.lk/Cons/1978Constitution/AMENDMENTS.html).

Since that first draft constitution prepared by Hon. D.S. Senanayake, assisted by Hon. S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike in 1943-45, successive UNP governments held the sovereignty of the people supreme. Each successive constitutions or amendments made to existing constitutions sought to improve on, rather than to desecrate that supreme trust the people placed on their government.

The 18th Amendment changed all of that. Instead of improving the constitution, of holding the sovereignty of the people supreme, and of devolving power to the people, the 18th amendment reversed the good that was done – unanimously by all elected parties represented in the parliament – by the 17th amendment and concentrated all that power in the President, who is now unfettered by term limitations and; more so, undermining the separation of powers so clearly emphasized in the 1978 constitution between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Coupled with certain politically motivated judicial “interventions”, such as the judgment that negated the will of the people by allowing a member of parliament, elected through one party, to cross over to another party, without loosing his or her seat, the 1978 constitution is no longer the document that its framers envisaged it to be three decades ago.

As a member, and the leader of the United National Party, I carry with me the heritage and the great responsibility that comes with that heritage, to protect and nurture that hard-won sovereignty, won by the United National Party on behalf of the people of this country, in 1947.

Last year, the United National Party promised to deliver a radical change. We are now on that straight and firm path – not just to deliver the radical change, but also to ensure that change will last, by making the people of this country, the people in whom sovereignty resides, to be directly a part of that journey, for the first time in the constitutional making history of this country.

On the 29th of May, I helped to unveil a list of parameters, what I would prefer to call basic building blocks, of a nascent, vibrant and dynamic new constitution, a constitution that help us look forward without fear, a constitution that is fair and above all, a constitution that gives the power back to the people – the first step of that process is by the very act of involving the people in evolving the constitution.

I believe that this is the first time, anywhere in the world, where people will be directly involved in the constitution making of a country – with the UNP actively seeking the participation of the general public through the Internet and other direct means to add to, modify, enhance or otherwise change the draft proposal. On Sunday, 1st of June, I spoke with the Leaders of the Estate Workers Unions in Nuwara Eliya – what stuck me there was that this was in fact the first time the Indian Tamil segment of our population is getting to play a part in planning their future, as citizens of Sri Lanka, for they were disenfranchised when the first two constitutions were made and only had input through one person, the Late Mr Saumyamoorthi Thondaman, for the third.

The involvement of the people in drafting the constitution is not the only way our people will have a say in this sacrosanct document – they will also approve of it, or disapprove of it if they choose so, at a Referendum that my party has promised to hold, within six months of forming a new government. This, again for the first time, will directly involve the people of Sri Lanka, to decide on the constitution they want.

I said on that day when we unveiled our parameters at the Parliament that we are not launching a new proposal, but we are launching a conversation, a deep discussion, between us, between the people. What we presented to the people on that day is the foundation to this conversation.

This foundation has a set of building blocks, conversation starters. These building blocks seek to abolish the office of the presidency, do away with the preference vote, have elected members of parliament representing each and every constituency, guarantees the freedom of speech, provides the right to information and seeks to make changes covering the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Good Governance and Devolution of power amongst other areas.

The proposal provides three options to change the Executive. The first option; a Prime Minister elected by the people at an election to govern with the Cabinet. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet are responsible to Parliament and issues regarding power and power sharing may not be clearly demarcated.

The third option proposes to adopt a system similar to that of the Westminster system where a head of state who is the nominal holder of executive power, and holds numerous reserve powers, but whose daily duties mainly consist of performing the role of a ceremonial figurehead. Examples include the president of India, Ireland and the Governor General of New Zealand. (New Zealand is currently considering a move to form a Republic with a President as the head of State). A head of government (or head of the executive), known as the prime minister, appointed by the head of state, with the constitutional convention that the person appointed must be supported by the majority of elected Members of Parliament leads the Executive. (for more on Westminster style of government, see http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/t/the-new-zealand-legal-system)

However, it is the second of the three options given that details out the more prominent thinking of my party´s constitutional think-tanks, with the substitution of a directly elected Head of State, who will only head a Council of State (which will consist of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, the Leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament and the Chief Ministers of the Provinces), and will act on the advice of the Council of State. This also reflects the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission on both devolution and power sharing at the apex bodies, where the Commission underlined the need for courage and the political will on the part of all political parties to give up adversarial politics and have consensual decision-making on national political issues.

The Council of State shall decide on all political directions and national priorities. The Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister and the Provincial Boards of Ministers shall be responsible for implementation of the decisions of the Council of State.

There shall also be a Speaker’s Councils consisting of the Speaker, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition and representatives of all political parties represented in Parliament. The Speaker shall be the Chairman.

On recommendations of the Council of State  and the Speakers Council, the Head of the State shall appoint members to Independent Commissions, Justices to the Constitutional Court and Superior Courts. The Head of State with the approval of the Speaker’s Council shall appoint heads of State Institutions.

I am profoundly aware that these recommendations are incomplete. Nowhere in these do we speak of the actual entitlements of each of these separate bodies. These, in my belief, comes as a set of statutes that need careful drafting by constitutional experts – and also by the citizenry of Sri Lanka, for they pay for these entitlements. And thus, we leave the entitlements open for suggestions – we are only providing the parameters.

Those who drafted these parameters, a team of young lawyers under the guidance of some seniors like Mr Wijedasa Rajapaksha, P.C., looked at power sharing examples from the European Commission, South Africa, some of the new East European nations and compared these with old systems like the US bicameral system, the British Westminster system and with the other systems in Australia, India and elsewhere before they recommended the three options we presented to change the present Executive dominated system.

Within the EU system, the three institutions of the EU responsible for making policy and taking decisions are the Council of the European Union (representing national governments), the European Commission, (a body representing the collective European interest) and the European Parliament (representing the people). In our second option, the Council of State, headed by the head of state, is equivalent to the Council of the European Union, as not only leaders of the political parties represented in parliament, but also the chief ministers of the provinces will be members of this Council of State. (For more on the EU structure, see http://www.eu4journalists.eu/index.php/basics/english/C50/)

The United National Party believes in being dynamic, pertinent, and timely. We also believe that our long-term goal should be to achieve a stable economy that outlives us, the present generations, and to create the socio-cultural conditions within which this stable economy will continue to thrive. Fundamental to this concept, I believe, is to have a free, fair and democratic framework of governing principles, where everyone is treated equally, where no one can claim higher status because of his or her birth, religion, language or kinship and where no one is discriminated on account of his or her birth, religion, language or kinship.

If this democratic framework is not there, if this focus on equal and fundamental rights is not there, none of us, whether we are in the opposition, or the government, or those of us who stay away from politics, will have a future to leave to our children, our next generations.

Since 1994, there has been a gradual erosion of these democratic frameworks – for example, since independence in 1947, the head of the state or the head of the government, never held the ministry of finance or that of defence at the same time till 1994. Since then, the President did not control these two ministries simultaneously only during the period I was the Prime Minister from 2001 to 2004. Holding these two ministries at the same time gives unfettered power to the head of government.

While my government, with the unanimous acceptance of all parties represented in the parliament, sought to re-enforce the sovereignty of the people through the 17th amendment, by strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the police and the public service amongst other institutions, all of that good work was eroded by a series of judgments that were politically intervened to dilute fundamental rights and the power of the vote. Then, after the judiciary served its purpose, the Executive and the governing legislature destroyed the last vestiges of independence of the judiciary.

With the passing of the 18th amendment to the 1978 constitution, we can no longer deny the immediate and present danger of our democracy becoming a dictatorship, of the “Janadhipathi” becoming a “Raja-adhipathi.”

Being dynamic, pertinent and timely, successive UNP governments have striven to change legislature, introduce new constitutions, amend and add where necessary to those constitutions, so that the fundamental democratic frameworks continue to be enhanced and enlarged to include new global developments, to meet emerging threats that seek to undermine the frameworks and to correct and refine where possible laws that may not suit the time or the situation that is prevailing in the country. It was the UNP that introduced the Westminster system to this country through D.S. Senanayaka´s draft bill and it was the UNP that introduced the Executive Presidency to this country by amending the 1972 constitution and it will be the UNP that will bring in another timely and pertinent change to ensure our democratic frameworks will continue to be robustly protected.

At the launch of this effort to give back sovereignty to our people, I gave my word that within six months of assuming power my party and I will hold a referendum that will enable the people of Sri Lanka either to accept or reject a new constitution, a new constitution that will be crafted jointly by the people, constitutional experts and us, the politicians.  In July this year, we will issue a new draft of this set of parameters now hosted at our party website, www.unp.lk, incorporating comments from people, expert advice and feedback we are getting at the many meetings we are now holding across the length and breadth of our country. We will continue to discuss, to add and to improve these parameters till such date the people of this country takes that decision take back sovereignty  – that too – is my promise.


[i] Hulugalle, H.A.J. 2004, Selected Journalism, Arjuna Hulugalle Dictionaries

[ii] The Soulbury Constitution was amended eight times by successive governments, the last amendment by the UNF government of Madame Bandaranaike in 1971 to abolish the Senate; the 1972 constitution amended twice, last by the UNP government of Prime Minister J.R.Jaywardene to establish the Executive Presidency in 1977; and 1978 constitution amended 17 times by successive UNP governments and once by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksha, to remove presidential time limits and to weaken the 17th amendment.

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Latest comments

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    Apparently something, somewhere, somehow Life is injected to the leader of the opposition late in the game of politics. Trying to rescue a sinking ship or more aptly a sinking island. May God have mercy on the people of Sri Lanka.

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      Maghribi,

      You seem to have long been in the pitch darkness to have suddenly awoken to see what Ranil is doing, but most right thinking people have known and seen Ranil to operate along these correct lines from the beginning. It is the unfortunate majority average people who failed to note what Ranil has been saying.

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        Kimara – In politic, past performance is a guide to the future. Leaders are measured with tangible results and not with mere promises. Great leaders have a clear, focused vision and if they fail to deliver first time, they step aside and make way for the next capable person to charge.

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          Maghribi,

          So name your next capable person to charge!? Don’t blame me after avoiding answer!

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            Vasudeva Nanayakkara, whole heartedly.

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            Kimara – The choice of most capable leader is a collective decision/right for the people of Sri Lanka. Hopefully, in time they will learn to sift a pearl/gem from the mire.

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      Ranil is part of the problem and cannot be the solution to Lanka’s crisis so all this trip is useless. He is huge reason that Lanka has sunk so low today..

      Ranil is part of the rotten political culture of dictatorship that is evident in both main political parties in Lanka, All this talk about soverignty coming for the dictator Ranil who has lost countless election but shamelessly blocks better people from taking over leadership of the UNP is bunk.

      Ranil really thinks that people are fools! And his oh so pious wife who is having a free ride steeped in stinking hypocracy is the pits..

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        (pxka)Dun Stanley!,

        The root cause of the problems and the curse of the country is your uneducated Mara and his family and the pimps like you who are sniffing his posterior. Piggish pimps like you do not want or understand the value of democracy or good governance. After all pigs only love to have more and more garbage like you.

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    Besides fulfilling the wish list of his current ally Sambandan, pleasing the Diaspora, their IC, Moderate Vigilantes,FUTA,Hultsdrf hustlers,and neutering Venerable Sobitha,does any of these three Models of Right Wing Ranil say anything about the standard of living and per capital income of the inhabitants, at least in the preamble?.

    Does it give a guarantee that it will be at least fifty percent higher than what the current projections for 2015?.

    This is the most imporatnt issue as far as the ordinary punters are concerned because from Soulbury to the 17th ,which Ranil claims full ownership,the inhabitants were struggling to get it over USD 1000.

    Thanks to the 18th, which RR and his allies have an intense hatred, it has shot up to over USD 3000 abn still rising.

    Just imagine if all the resources that were used to eliminate Terrorism also could have been pumped into Nation Buildng since 2005?.

    Back to the future with Soulbury would have been a better caption?. Wouldn’t it?.

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      K.A Sumanasekera,

      [Edited out] of the first degree, expand your posterior little bit further so that few more of the fuckers in the Mara regime can creep in to have a peep in before they pee in your ugly [Edited out]. This[Edited out] believes constitutional making is “wish list creation for diaspora and LTTE”! This bloody bastard is of the same mould as his sugar daddy uneducated MARA and his family and fools looting around him.

      “..per capita income and $$$!.” Good heavens! This is the low level of this lowly beggar in the Mara’s ditch. Where on earth are dollars and budgetary figures and statistics included in a constitutional draft? Do you think Ranil is presenting annual budget of the country? Moda Uura!

      “..18A and $ 3000 and rising…!” What bloody nonsense is this? Rising what? Raising your clothes? This cunt-got-erased Leela bitch has shifted to her “upper hole” when the bitch says 18A has raised the living standards of “inhabitants”! What magnanimous address is that-inhabitants!? My foot! A filth swallowing pig casting happy central bank statistics on the prosperous inhabitants! Haven’t you yet unloaded your last night load that you loaded from behind?

      “..Ordinary punters getting over USD 1000…!!” Yes, that is why your uneducated MARA brought in that kangaroo gambler, so that at the bottom of the ditch when you have lost and finished after punting, you can punt your [Edited out] as the last resort to live your [Edited out] existence. Such a bitch living in the ditch!!!!

      “..imagine resources spent on war pumped in to nation building since 2005.!” Where is the money and gold looted from LTTE by your MARA? What happened to LTTE warships? Where did tsunami aids go? Where are colossal commissions obtained from China on failed yet your tom tomming projects? Who pillaged and stole ancient treasure troves throughout the country and what happened to that treasure? Who broke the museum and what happened to your ancient heritage? Mara [Edited out], wipe your [Edited out]for it is leaking your daily dose!!!!

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        Well said Loola, Kumanakeshara aka Leela riddled, drilled and perilled.

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    SO. ? ? ? ………………….!

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    Well said Sir!

    All the minorities may it be ethnic minorities or sexual minorities are behind you sir. Do well!

    Srilanka badly need your wisdom, farsightedness, absence of nepotism and cool head more than ever before. Can’t wait to see you kick these thugs out and bring green green grass home.

    Don’t be disheartened. JR was 71 years old when he became president and boy what a great and excellent leader he was. You have time sir. And your time will come sir.

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    Hon. RW,
    “..D S Senanayake and his board of ministers boycotted the Soulbury Commission sittings in the pretext.., while in actual fact, they did so to avoid what could have been a lengthy confrontation with minority leaders, which in turn would have led to delays in gaining independence…”
    Just see what a brilliant man was DSS , that’s why we all call him Father of our nation, wholeheartedly. Always these minorities had ulterior motives & DSS & his board of ministers knew than any body else, because they were privileged in British divide & rule policy that ran this nation for centuries, they expected those privileges to continue unabated ,even after independence, that’s why they wanted 50/50 & later 33% Land mass & 66% territorial waters for 12% population, knowing all those & more DSS as Minister of Agriculture developed hundreds of irrigation tanks & paddy fields for sons of soil even during British rule. THIS WAS THE UNP PEOPLE LOVED & NOT today’s UNP run by bunch of cosmopolitans look more anti-Lankan than pro Lankan / more Anti Sinhala-Buddhists than Pro Sinhala-Buddhists / more linked to INGO mafia than not & more pro-West than pro East , So any wonder UNP’ers are more losers than winners ?
    Even the USA has been run by those who love , pro White skinned /pro Protestant/ pro USA guys, never anti-US, anti-Protestant Christian. For example, Only in 2007, (Keith Ellison of Minnesota ) became the first practicing Muslim to become a member of the United States Congress which continues an unbroken chain dating back to the 1st Congress in 1789 . The US Federal election system & constitution is formulated in such a way, that it never allows any minority to influence US politics (Even Catholics had only one President –JFK) for well over 200 years since formation of USA.

    So, the UNP, Grand Old Party of Sri Lanka should better take a leaf from USA or Father of Nation Rt.Hon. DSS.

    There are many good things , we Sri Lankans can get from USA, such as, to check financial calamity in private & public sector, Sarbanes–Oxley Act, or SOX, a United States federal law, enacted after biggest Corporate collapse in US history (Enron /Arthur Anderson) that set new or enhanced standards for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms, named after sponsors U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and U.S. Representative Michael G. Oxley (R-OH). As a result of SOX, top management must now individually certify the accuracy of financial information. In addition, penalties for fraudulent financial activity are much more severe.

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      John:
      NOW I know why those who pimp for prostitutes are called “Johns!”

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        Aney,h…tho,
        pBloody uneducated idiot, if you have no any work, [Edited out]. or shut up. I’ve never seen any remark worth of reading from you, real [Edited out] on somebody’s payroll.

        • 0
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          You got jaundiced?

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    Sounds OK so let the discourse begin. Please inform the public how they may convey their ideas by appointing a web site with all this information and the basic structure of governance etc. Also others who do not use the internet should be informed by holding island wide seminars and workshops to obtain their views. If RW is serious about this it is better to go into it in depth.

    However time is a factor and the priority is to abolish the EP. The regime may call snap elections to pre-empt any such changes as it wants to cling on for another term. So have a startegy to deal with such a move in cohesion with the other opposition parties.

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    Dear Hon’ble Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe -The Leader of the Opposition and the United National Party:

    The Political History and its evolution since Independence and your contribution to it as a Minister, a Prime Minister, Leader of the United National Party and the Leader of the Opposition is very clear to us and do not wish to deal with it at this point of time, excepting the following you have said above:

    “As a member and the leader of the United National Party, I carry with me the heritage and the great responsibility that comes with that heritage, to promote and nurture that hard won sovereignty won by the United National Party on behalf of the country in 1947”.

    Is it necessary to remind you of that “famous” “Cease-fire Agreement” (engineered by Norway)you signed with Velupillai Pirabahakaran- the ruthless and barbaric leader of the terrorist outfit called LTTE? You broke all the “protocol” in signing any type of agreement, in that, the President- the then Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the country, the most members of your own Cabinet, the Members of the Parliament and the citizens of the country were not consulted and informed of its terms and conditions. You even did not meet face to face the “other party” to the agreement signing the document and “subjugated” that authority on behalf of the country to a delegate of Norway. Is this the “HERITAGE” you speak of to “protect and nurture”? Then, please forget it and leave us alone.

    Next in that statement you also refer to “Sovereignity won by the United National Party in 1947”. True. But what did you do to that sovereignty when you were the Prime Minister of this country with that “Cease-fire Agreement”? In my opinion, you “blind-folded” the entire nation and virtually handed over that “demarcated” land portion of the LTTE flag along with 2/3 of the sea border to a ruthless, barbaric leader and his terrorist organization called the LTTE. Is this the “HERITAGE” you speak of to “protect and nurture”? Then, please forget it and leave us alone. For you information that is how we lost our “sovereignty” won in 1947. I hold you responsible for it.

    Whatever the circumstances that we are facing today, we have regained our SOVEREIGNTY, THANKS TO THE SACRIFICES (Life and blood) made by the valiant members of our national armed forces and the political support that they received. So please be informed that SOVEREIGNTY was not won by you or your United National Party. Therefore you or your party is not called upon to “protect and nurture” that “hard won” SOVEREIGNTY.

    Apart from all of above, you have proved to be a “wolf” in “sheep” clothes. The way you “manoeuvred” the party consititution and the election of its leader, all in your favour, was a photo opportunity to make an unmistakable assessment and a decision as to who you are and what you are capable of. So that “heritage” you have already established can be confined to your United National Party; BUT PLEASE DO NOT UHDERTAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND NURTURE IT FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE COUNTRY. Please leavea us alone, because we feel better and safe without YOU AND YOUR PARTY.

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      Douglas,

      You seem to be allergic to CFA, intellect and civility. It is exactly mutts like you who created LTTE. Good counsel and norms of governance are anathema to you, to your Rajapakshas. Sri Lanka will be better off without racist buffalos like you. For the information of your birdbrain, it is exactly due to CFA that MR was able to wage a war and defeat the LTTE. I won’t elucidate because it is no use with fools like you. You moan about breaking the “protocol” in signing an agreement”, but we all witnessed how CFA promoted image of SL internationally, put an end to war and paved way for discussions, allowed SL breathing space for fortification of its position and economy, splintered LTTE and ultimately caused IC and India not to interfere with war efforts to defeat recalcitrant LTTE militarily. But we are yet to see the protocols and agreements your regime entered with China and other exploiters, James Packer the gambler when it sold the country and its resources, selling of Galleface green, selling of military base grounds, selling of island of Kalpitiya area, obtaining massive loans at exorbitant interest rates, massive loss of tax payers’ money in Greece bonds, imports of adulterated fuel and medicines, heading deals, poisoning the entire nation by importing adulterated fertilizer and pesticides and the list goes on endlessly….Stupid buffalos like you only know how to pick up some gossip somewhere and throw it at wise people who are doing a yeoman’s service to the country. During the ancient times when the kings ruled this country they used to tear apart into four pieces people like you and hang them in front of the four entrance doors to the kingdom so that everybody can see the nature of traitor and establish a precedent for others not to commit such crimes…..!

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        Oh fantastic!

        So people like Douglas created the LTTE and then killed it along with most family members of LTTE cadres?

        If so, SL should re-create the LTTE. It is a good cover to do what SL did from 1983 to 2009.

        Tamil population % was 18.5% in 1981.
        By 2011 it was down to 15%.

        Many would support the creation of the LTTE if your theory is true! I certainly will.

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    don’t take this man seriously

    have self respect for yourself

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      How then can he win most number of votes in 2000, 2001 and 2004 elections?

      In 2010 election he won the 3rd highest number of votes.

      He is a serious person and a respectable politician than that nepotism infected dicktator.

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    I think, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe had missed the ship every time. Apparently, It was the JRJ’s constitution that led to many of these things happening to Sri Lanka. Mr. RW was there at that time. Again, Mr. RW is talking about human rights. As people say, forget Human Rights did you remember at least what is called Human Compassion, when you were listening to pains and screams those who were tortured at Batalanda ?

    Now, at present, more than ever, Sinhala – Buddhists are self-conscious about what they have lost in Sri Lanka. Their culture and civilization had been destroyed for centuries and it is continuing and has reached the breaking point. WHAT YOU ARE TALKING IS SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND WHO YOU ARE ASSOCIATING WITH will never make Sri Lanka another country.

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      Muliyawaikkal:
      One day, God help us, there will be a rule about idiots like you being kept out of CT in the interests of the sanity of its readership!
      JimSofty:
      As for you – you should be banned in the interests of good sanitation on this publication!

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        Aney Monkey!, the problem is keeping Monkey Talks of Diaspora doggies like you.

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    Another constitution will be a waste of time,state funds & energy.
    What is necessry is:-
    Repeal of the 18th Amendment,
    Abolition of the powers of the Executive Presidency,
    and,
    A Law to prevent those elected under one party from crossing over to another,after being elected.
    Then,we will have a truly democratic government.

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      Justice,

      You hit the nail on the head. You are not alone here.

      See what the Good Thero, Ven, Sobitha Thero.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_H17MkdcBc

      Citizens! Not Subjects,Ven.Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbmqoaQ7okA

      TOO MANY PATCHES WILL WEAKEN THE CONSTITUTION: VEN. SOBITHA
      The Constitution of the country could be likened to a tube that has too many patches. The more patches it has, it will soon weaken and leak from all sides, said the Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero.

      Commenting on the proposed amendment to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, the thero said that enough patches had been fixed to the 1978 Constitution.

      “It is extremely dangerous for power to be centred around just one leader, no matter whether it’s the United National Party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, or anyone else.

      “A Constitution is drafted in the country not for a single person. A Constitution needs to be created for a country and not for a certain individual.

      “Enough patches have been placed on the ’78 Constitution. This is the 18th patch. When there are too many patches on a tube, it deflates from all sides, The time has come to change the tube and fix a new one,” said the Venerable Sobitha thero.

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      When the Justice system of the country itself is flawed it will lead to a democratically ornate Aristocracy?

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      Justice,All these dirty habits were started by the UNP especially crooking the Tax payer,Bribing the politicians ( free food, free cars,free women).The question of cross overs – can you remember Rajadurai, who crossed over from the FP to UNP, remember the majority can oust such a cross over but not when one cross over to the governing party.Who brought Rambukwella,Bogollagama,Mervyn,Duminda, Rajitha and Millinda to the parliament? Now he is getting rid of educated people like Maithree Gunaratne, laktilaka because they point out his mistakes.His proposals for the constitution is a camouflage, to counter Rev. M.Sobitha’s proposals. he wants ride on it to power. It will never happen. He is the guy who together with J.Amaratunga betrayed the Millinium city crowd.He had bribe takers,disruptors in his Cabinet, what did he do? His minister destroyed the CWE.I will not vote for him.If he acted as a leader, the cross over to MR would not have happened.When lasantha was killed he mouthed some nonsense and became silent. All these illegal acts would not have taken place if he was a leader, he is there for his perks.He should have taken a decision to help CBK through her Constitutional proposals, seeking changes if necessary. he acted in the parliament like the monkey who saw nothing, heard nothing.
      If he wants us to back him, he should drop dead wood like John Amaratunga and Ravi karunanayake for a start.

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    Are we going to handover the NPC to vulgar, uncouth [Edited out] like Loola??
    Better bring ammedments to the 13 A tomorrow itself.

    Sri Lanka badly need you to re- denmarcate the boundaries and handover the illam as soon as possible even by stepping over the burial site of the father of the Nation.
    Accompany that vulgar low bred Loola when attempt to step over the grave of the father of the nation next time.

    Ceylon Telegraph, noting Loola’s vulgar comments WHERE IS YOUR COMMENTS POLICY??? WHO GAVE APPROVAL FOR SUCH LOW BRED VULGAR COMMENTS
    THAT APPEAR TO HAVE COME FROM THE GUTTERS………

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      Loola (Edited out), assxxxx?

      Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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      Loola IS a LTTE Tamil, I knew him.

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        The edited out Loola is the animal Punnakku Leela.

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    If Ranil truly believes in the constitution he has proposed, then he has to further amend it before its presented. The most important amendment should be that all religions have equal rights in the constitution. We do not need mambo jumbo wording of Buddhism has special status and all other religions are equal. It should simply read, ” all religions have equal status “. Sweet and simple. If not Ranil is also a racist.

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    Honorable RW,

    I held the view unp.lk is not the right forum to obtain views from a wider audience and proposed CT type forums along with some other suggestions due to its user friendly interface and arrest of reader interest by interesting and current topics. I am very happy that this very valuable write up by you in the matter of the proposed draft constitution has been posted in CT where interested parties can post their comments. Having said that a very unfortunate thing I noticed is that the Ten Centers Army of the regime who are lying for a living have started their usual scavenging job and posting utter lies and defamations against you. But this is not the truth and this is done by one or two buggers for a living on the suffering of the people.

    This wonderfully scholarly and masterfully crafted write up opens a window into your profound and professional inner workings and thought process. The historical facts and constitutional history, how UNP served the country and its constitution, how it was destroyed and the current deadlock including UNP’s solution for same and most importantly the historically different and democratic approach UNP is going to achieve it with all-out and all-encompassing master plan-drawing experience and knowledge from the functioning and more recent democracies in the world by “..looking at power sharing examples from the European Commission, South Africa, some of the new East European nations and comparing these with old systems like the US bicameral system, the British Westminster system and with the other systems in Australia, India and elsewhere..” has very clearly and scientifically been presented in your article. This is where the essence your knowledge has come into being! And I dare say even JR could not afford such luxury! In the history our constitutional lapidary was also coloured by racism, religious fantasies and xenophobia. But here we are with a golden opportunity provided to us by your priceless vision, wisdom and experience that no politician in the present political arena of the country possesses.

    I propose you to please follow the various posts, criticisms and proposals appearing in these forums and elsewhere by various luminaries and well as ordinary proponents and adversaries and glean the beans in them so that when you update the draft constitution points worthy of being included in the final constitution may find their way into it which will be a huge boost to this novel process and also a great resource of input for the work to be done. I feel the following aspects fits in the constitution somewhere down the line:

    Development of the country must not be a wild ass development process as is being practiced by the Rajapakshas destroying natural resources, fauna and flora, wild life, sanctuaries and eco system but rather those rare and priceless treasures of nature must be preserved for us and posterity. Environment, water etc pollution must be kept at a bare minimum using the most advanced technologies practiced around the world whenever possible. Toxic and hugely waste producing projects must not find their way into this country. Alternative energy solutions, reduction of power wastage and efficient power usage with advanced technology, sustainable development, preserving the forests and water resources, protecting wild life, elephants and preventing encroachment of humans into the wild, reforestation, reintroduction of ancient farming methods, rice varieties that are pest resistant and robust even though yielding lesser harvest, control of banned and destructive fertilizer and pesticides into the country, introduction of a simple but meaningful lifestyle to the people with human values and qualities, consuming less fuels and introducing alternative transportation methods like foot cycles with health benefits, devolving city amenities to the periphery such as market, office, education, technology, health facilities etc., introduction of remote office, remote doctor, remote lab, remote teacher etc., opening branches of world renowned universities here and elevating SL to a higher rank in the field of world education and knowledge, setting up of an academy for educating, training and nurturing professional politicians for the country where ultimately all aspiring politicians of the country would have to be qualified through it……..all these are and many more are the issues facing this country today.

    I hope you would mobilize a team of experts to address various issues like these and device a plan to link the practical implementation aspects of the proposed constitution to these areas of concern.

    Certain aspects of the constitution for example extension of the term limit or life of office must never be allowed to be determined by Hultsdorf hustlers but must be passed by a referendum. One final proposal to put an end to the Rajapaksha typed impunity, all politicians who have the potential, official capacity and impunity to bypass law and misuse office to commit crimes, corruptions and violation of human rights must be subjected to the condition that in the case they evade punishment by the power of their office by misusing it their immediate family members will be subjected to the punishment they have somehow managed to evade and all of their assets must be confiscated.

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    Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe:

    What is urgent is to remove the 13th amendment. Even India needed the 13th amendment when India was pro-USSR.

    It is not the executive presidency that gives problems. It is the corrupt politicians. So, make the system accountable for those thieves and criminals.

    You can create every thing in the world.Bbut, nothing will work as long as those who implement those things are dishonest.

    Just think, there is no political system that addresses every problem in the world. Definitely, present “democratic system” or the west minister style have it’s own share of problems. On the other hand, there were kings in the past who looked after their subjects as parents would do for their children.

    So, start with what is available. Just writing volumes of new laws will not work.

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    Liberty: Truth hurts many people. No wonder you too are hurt. I need not say sorry, because it is nothing but the truth and you failed to change it.

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      True.

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        Truly untrue Naxal pundit.

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    Fine write up, visionary and just what the right thinking people were waiting for. It took such a long time in coming I thought ALL our elected representatives have forgotten us, the people who voted.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa and his parliamentarians forgot us the moment they defeated the LTTE, and thought of only their own selves and their kith and kin. In fact the people lost their sovereignty when it was shamelessly usurped by the Executive.

    I hope that Ranil Wickremesinghe is serious and committed to what he is espousing. If so, he will have the support of the good people of this country. Please have this document published in Sinhala and Tamil for every one to read and understand what Sri Lanka can be. And do not worry about the hired invective that will be hurled at this proposal.

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    Well said sir! The electorate should open their eyes and see for themselves the destruction we are headed with this government. The current constitution with all its amendments especially 18th has killed this country! It even says only a “sinhala buddhist” can become a president! This should change hopefully with the new constitution as if we are to be a truly developed country we should not judge by the colour of our skin, religion and wealth but for who we are! Hope you win sir ! All the best!

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    “While my government, with the unanimous acceptance of all parties represented in the parliament, sought to re-enforce the sovereignty of the people through the 17th amendment, by strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the police and the public service amongst other institutions,”

    RW has confused sovereignty with good governance and rights of the people.At this rate any piece of legislation can be included in the basket of sovereignty.

    Sovereignty is the unbridled right of the people to change governments through their power of franchise.

    Constitutional pundits are invited to comment as this definition of the leader of the oppositions is bound to mislead students of politics.

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    Oh what a world!! There are still lackeys
    to defend RW, no matter what he does.

    Articles are not going to foist him as the
    next president. Nor his warped and wobbly
    charisma. It will hurt those who still “love”
    him or want to “defend” him under different names
    and different pretexts. Good luck to them.

    For RW, who flirts with MR in the night and opposes
    him during the day, there is little future. He is an
    intellect alright. His title of Mr. Clean is no longer
    there. What happened to the moneys given by certain
    countries? Did’nt his friends invest them in ventures
    instead of fighting elections?

    Keep trying RW. You have the tax payers money in the
    form of a vote for the office of the Leader of the
    Opposition. When an ordinary peon or watcher plunders,
    he is called all names. Nothing is said about the Pin
    Gona. He could travel the world with a lovely and likeable
    international affairs advisor or go talent spotting to youth
    rallies. High time you said goodbye RW

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