19 November, 2018

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The New Parliament Will Introduce The Third Republican Constitution Of Sri Lanka

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

I hope that good sense will prevail and that today, the 28th of April 2015, will be a historic day for Sri Lanka. It should be remembered as the day which heralded the beginning of the end of the all powerful executive presidential system in our country. Since introducing the First Republican constitution in 1972 we have journeyed from a Westminster form of government to an all-powerful Executive Presidency introduced by the Second Republican constitution. However both these Republican constitutions proved to be inadequate to meet the dreams and aspirations of all the communities, ethnic groups and religious groups living in our country.

Having suffered the consequences, and realized our mistakes, we are gathered here today to make an important course correction.

Mr. Speaker,

The 19th Amendment to be passed today abolishes many of the executive powers of the presidency while retaining the executive nature of the presidency.

The Supreme Court held that in order to abolish many of the other powers, a referendum would be needed. Therefore it will be the task of the next parliament to completely abolish the executive system in favour of a fully-fledged parliamentary democracy.

In the course of this debate, it has become clear to all, that our country has suffered for too long from the corrosive and crippling effects that unchecked, centralized power wracked on our democratic institutions and political culture.

We know that this unaccountable system was in many ways at the root of many of the most pressing national problems. It is at the root of the culture of impunity and the widespread corruption that we experienced over the last few years.

Mr. Speaker,

It is in the context of such experiences, that President Maithripala Sirisena was given a mandate to abolish the executive presidential system. The citizens of Sri Lanka and indeed future generations will applaud President Sirisena for taking resolute action to fulfill his promises to the people, within the parameters of the Supreme Court ruling.

Mr. Speaker,

This amendment alone will not be the panacea for all our nation’s problems. Reduction of the executive powers of the Presidency is only one important step in the challenging journey that we, as a nation, must undertake in order to create “A New Sri Lanka”.

However, we must take heart from the fact that by working together in this House, our nation has achieved so much in just 108 days.

­­­

I am hopeful that the new Parliament, to be elected by the people later this year, will shed divisive politics and unite on issues of national significance. In particular, I am hopeful that that new Parliament will do what many other governments attempted but failed to do – to introduce a new constitution, in fact ‘the Third Republican constitution’ of Sri Lanka.

A new constitution, which will celebrate Sri Lanka’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and pluralism and meet the aspirations of all the peoples of Sri Lanka. Whether it is the tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities or the Sinhalese and Muslim communities, eradicating the motivation for terrorism and violence requires us to go beyond dealing with its symptoms. The root causes of ethnic conflict need to be addressed once and for all, constitutionally. Along with democracy, rule of law and human rights, reconciliation and ethnic harmony must be the foundation for the new Sri Lanka we all dream about.

Mr. Speaker,

A new constitution that addresses the concerns and grievances of the minorities is the urgent need to be addressed by the next parliament. The resolution of our ethnic conflict, which continues after war, is sine qua non for Sri Lanka’s march forward toward peace and prosperity.

Mr. Speaker,

I am reminded of the preamble of the constitution of UNESCO:

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.

On 4th of February this year, the Government made a pledge to ensure that never again will we allow this country to be traumatized by the shedding of the blood of her citizens.

Let us not forget that injustice and inequality breed hatred, discontent and violence. To stand true to her word, the Government’s pledge must be etched into the foremost sites of rebellion – the hearts and minds of her citizens.

Under the leadership of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, I am certain that we will form and implement a consensus on the national question that has evaded previous governments. We will use our collective political will to construct a great peace for our country.

Mr Speaker,

During the last several years, Sri Lanka pursued a policy of aggression towards the international community. We alienated our friends and also international organisations. In the process, we isolated ourselves.

But within a short span of 108 days, we have managed to take some steps to steer our nation back on course. And today’s formal announcement in Washington on the Secretary of State’s visit to SL on the 2nd of May signifies the return of Sri Lanka to the center stage of International Affairs.

As we make this course correction, and re-integrate with the international community, we must not lose sight of our national obligations.

To refrain from opening up our nation to international ignominy and making ourselves once again vulnerable to intrusive external interventions, we must initiate a credible domestic investigation into allegations of violations of human rights.

Such developments are important also to clear the name of our armed forces who have received international recognition as a professional and disciplined force. Today, our courageous soldiers are in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal saving the lives of those affected by the recent devastating earthquake.

Mr. Speaker,

As I explained when I addressed this House on the 18th of March, the Sri Lankan diaspora, whether Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, has a vital role to play not only in the reconciliation process, but also in taking Sri Lanka forward as a nation.

I spoke that day about initiating a process to review the individuals and entities in the diaspora community who were listed under the Extraordinary Gazette 1854/41 of 21 March 2014. This process has already been initiated.

Mr. Speaker,

The time has come for all the people of Sri Lanka who truly love their country to decide to work together to overcome their differences and reach consensus.

Let not our short-term political goals hinder our nation’s progress. Let us discard the rhetoric of hatred, mistrust and division on both sides of the divide and stand together hand in hand as Sri Lankans to reap the fruits of the Asian century.

*Mangala Samaraweera MP’s Speech in Parliament on 19A – 28th April 2015

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Latest comments

  • 5
    18

    19 A passed.
    Now everybody will get nominations in the UNP and SLFP to form the National Unity Sinhala Buddhist Party sans Tamils.

    They can even form that GOSL sans Muslims.

  • 2
    24

    Victory for MR, only the blind and racist will not see it LOL.

    With the aparthied inspired “consitutional council” concept pretty much destroyed, the 19A really is nothing. The “consitutional council” was designed to turn Sinhalese into 3rd class citizens in their own and only country and empower the alien Christians in Colombo and foreign imported Tamils as supreme rulers, turning the clock back to the British style of barbaric rule of butchery over Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese. When the General Election is held (that is if Ranil wants to face an election or continue his illegal anti-democratic dictorial and highly corrupt national wealth robbing rule) MR will sweep the polls and came back to lead SL as the executive PM.

    This is a victory for MR’s return, LOL. These “good governance” dictatorship preachers don’t realise how they’ve shot themselves in the foot. They maybe celebrating now, but it will be short lived. In the long term they are done for. The powerful and clever master stroke by the MR faction will see MR return with full powers and ensure these white worshippers who couldn’t care less if Sri Lanka disintegrated tomorrow (as evident with how they openly supported the LTTE, wanted our own Army defeat during the war, celebrated LTTE victorys and casualities amongst our soldiers and went around the world demanding economic sanctions to make the people suffer) will not just be thrown in jail but put out of existence. Just watch the fate to befall these “good goverance” criminals who came to power on lies (like good Lasantha style Christians) and are robbing Sri Lanka of her wealth to fill their bank accounts and enjoying foreign trips on first class air travel to luxury hotels while selling our country out and crushing the basic rights of Sinhalese to empower the blood demanding Tamil racist imports, the Church and of course to please their benefactors in the West.

    • 10
      2

      White Flag
      Could you kindly sit on the pole of that White flag and shut up!
      Its you and your kind including Donald J Gnanakone that create disharmony among SRI LANKANs!

      Well done Mr President and all who voted for the 19A!

    • 8
      1

      White Flags

      Take a break Have a KitKat and then come back.

    • 6
      0

      Such Racists like “White flags “. Should be banned from spreading hate on their march to,destroy MotherLanka.

      I don’t think anyone takes. notice of this dust cart. Still there are Modayas available to obey the Hate preachings.

      Wonder of Asia was created by the Modayas from the 50s

    • 2
      0

      How does MR come back into power? Please explain your logic.
      According to our constitution, Chapter VII, Article 33, paragraph (d), under the title “Powers and functions of the President” reads:

      —–
      to keep the Public Seal of the Republic, and to make and execute under the Public Seal, the Acts of Appointment of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court, such grants and dispositions of lands and immovable property vested in the Republic as he is by law required or empowered to do, and to use the Public Seal for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass that Seal ;
      —–

      Nobody can vote MR into power. The president, Maithripala Sirisena has to appoint MR.

      Are you saying that MS will make MR a prime minister? Funny :)

    • 2
      0

      Oh white flag!

      Sri Lankans ALL have a problem. To live in harmony with all communities. Read your comment again to see how communal minded your views sound. As suggested by other posters, don’t stir up the communal feeling like digging the wounds.

      Why don’t you seriously take a break and then wake up to see the changes taking place around you. It will take a while to undo the damage caused my MR bunch of jokers. Is it hard for you to understand that? Are you always this unhappy?

      Yes, have a KitKat and some coffee! Your views will change.

      Ps: also, you mind changing your handle name. It is so ugly. You having that handle name does not change anything.

  • 5
    0

    Sweetly reasonable.

    Lets hope that the New Constitution promised to be adopted by the New Parliament
    will not be Tinkered like the 1978 constitution[20 Amendments!] in just 37 years.

    Anyway,Maithripala Sirisena will go down in History,as one who was not avaricious for Power,quite unlike Mahinda Rajapakse!

  • 5
    1

    It is a welcoming move and we should thank the people who voted in favour of a change. It is also noteable that the rascist elements are still not given up their motive of bringing back Mahinda and his family. The support given by those group can be considered as a tactical move and they are still dangerous to the rule of law. Next step is going to be election and Maithiri has a responsibility to protect the nation from Mahinda groups coup. Mahinda & Co has to face the justice for what they have done through illegal, violent jungle rule. As Chandrika stated that there is no peace and it can be achieved by finding a political solution based on those principles of devolution of power. This will bring Tamil speaking Tamils and Muslims as recognised citizens of this beautiful island as Sinhalese.

    • 0
      0

      Everyone knows that Chandrika is your SIL. So your support is nothing great here.

      Chandrika has to answer the Tamil people on what she did to them. Ramrkably Chemmani and Navaly bombing.

      • 1
        0

        It is not about supporting Chandrika or what her did to Tamils during her rule. My point is that finding a political solution only bring peace to this island.

  • 3
    0

    Two humble suggestions: Re-name the country, “THE REPUBLIC OF CEYLON”. This will emphasize the secular status of the country.

  • 2
    5

    Is our FM getting a ahead a bit too soon.

    19 is just an A .. Right ,,,

    FM is already talking about giving the LTTE expats free access to visit The motherland.

    Prabakaran would have got a red carpet if he was still around under the care Solheim, , Kuchner, and Milliband.

    And he would have been hot property too at election rallies , in London, Ontario, Norway and Jaffna.

    • 1
      0

      KAS – Looks like there’s no end to your hopes for MR’s revival, so keep churning out your racist, negative and pro-MR garbage, although you must know by now that no one takes you seriously and you have become the joker in the pack.

      And that applies to your numerous other pseudonyms as well.

  • 3
    1

    Dear Mr.Samaraweera

    At the time of responding to your Article I read the news that the 19th Amendment has been passed with 2/3rds majority.

    I want to analyse and ask a few searching questions as to what it means to the Tamils especially when you secured your victory with the Tamil votes.

    1) However both these Republican constitutions proved to be inadequate to meet the dreams and aspirations of all the communities, ethnic groups and religious groups living in our country.

    Having suffered the consequences, and realized our mistakes, we are gathered here today to make an important course correction.

    *** How do you convince the Tamil Minority that you have realised your past mistakes when the Majority of the Majority voted for business as usual. And even more shocking is that despite your promises to respect Rule of Law and bring those who are guilty to books you have broken your promise by undermining Attorney Generals advice to arrest Gotha. The story floating around is that it was the pretender Ranil who stopped the arrest.

    2) The Supreme Court held that in order to abolish many of the other powers, a referendum would be needed. Therefore it will be the task of the next parliament to completely abolish the executive system in favour of a fully-fledged parliamentary democracy.

    *** If the Tamils choose to boycott the elections how will you win the Referendum.
    You have been going round the World telling them that you will deal with the question of accountabilty but having bought time untill September you have refused to arrest Gotha. Do you think that the UN will trust you come September.

    3) In the course of this debate, it has become clear to all, that our country has suffered for too long from the corrosive and crippling effects that unchecked, centralized power wracked on our democratic institutions and political culture.

    *** Dont just blame the Centralised power . It is the Racist attitude of the Majority which is in their Gene the problem

    4) We know that this unaccountable system was in many ways at the root of many of the most pressing national problems. It is at the root of the culture of impunity and the widespread corruption that we experienced over the last few years.

    ***I partially agree but you have done nothing to punish the culprits.

    5) It is in the context of such experiences, that President Maithripala Sirisena was given a mandate to abolish the executive presidential system. The citizens of Sri Lanka and indeed future generations will applaud President Sirisena for taking resolute action to fulfill his promises to the people, within the parameters of the Supreme Court ruling.

    *** You are day dreaming.

    6) A new constitution, which will celebrate Sri Lanka’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and pluralism and meet the aspirations of all the peoples of Sri Lanka. Whether it is the tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities or the Sinhalese and Muslim communities, eradicating the motivation for terrorism and violence requires us to go beyond dealing with its symptoms. The root causes of ethnic conflict need to be addressed once and for all, constitutionally. Along with democracy, rule of law and human rights, reconciliation and ethnic harmony must be the foundation for the new Sri Lanka we all dream about.

    *** If you want to achieve all of the above will you draft the Constitution to include the following.

    1) That you will devolve power “Land and Poice Powers” to enable the elected CM for the Unified North & East to run the affairs similar to Tamilnadu.
    2) Entrust The CM with powers to appoint a Tamil Commissioner of Police similar to Tamilnadu to avoid the horrors of Krishanthi.
    3) Give the CM tax raising powers similar to Scotland.
    4) Further more if you want every Tamil to feel a Sri Lankan enact law to make it possible for Tamils to become a President even if it is simply a ceremonial role, to be appointed as head of the Army , Navy and the Air Force so that we feel we have a stake in the Country.

    5) On 4th of February this year, the Government made a pledge to ensure that never again will we allow this country to be traumatized by the shedding of the blood of her citizens.

    *** But the reality on the Ground is just the opposite. Army are roaming the street, Journalist in the North have no freedom to report and I am sure you have heard of the recent arrests.

    6) Let us not forget that injustice and inequality breed hatred, discontent and violence. To stand true to her word, the Government’s pledge must be etched into the foremost sites of rebellion – the hearts and minds of her citizens.

    *** Sadly the owners of hatred are the Majority.

    7) Under the leadership of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, I am certain that we will form and implement a consensus on the national question that has evaded previous governments. We will use our collective political will to construct a great peace for our country.

    *** Recently CBK in her Article said that under her tenure she tried all of the above but failed look where we are.

    8)But within a short span of 108 days, we have managed to take some steps to steer our nation back on course. And today’s formal announcement in Washington on the Secretary of State’s visit to SL on the 2nd of May signifies the return of Sri Lanka to the center stage of International Affairs.

    *** Certainly you managed to hoodwink the Interantional community but the Jury is our and Sri Lanka is on probation and on the Watch list.

    9)As we make this course correction, and re-integrate with the international community, we must not lose sight of our national obligations.

    *** Actions speak louder than words and if you want to convince me and fellow Tamils arrest Gotha immediately. By the way what happend to the charge of the Coup Plot after the election which seems to have peted out.

    10)Such developments are important also to clear the name of our armed forces who have received international recognition as a professional and disciplined force. Today, our courageous soldiers are in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal saving the lives of those affected by the recent devastating earthquake.

    *** American satelites have proof of what your barbaric soldiers did and let me let tell you just in case you didnt know and were under the influence of drugs yourelf like your soldier brothers.
    Under Gothas orders people were ordered to go into designated safe heavens and shelled indiscriminately causing CARNAGE.
    Have you heard of word called REMORSE. May be not.

    You are no different to Gotha , SF when it comes to protecting your barbaric soldiers and what confidence do we have in an Internal War Crimes Inquiry. You have already given the verdict. NOT GUILTY.

    My friend Mr.Samaraweera ACCOUNTABILTY is a Pre requisite to RECONCILIATION if we are to move on and we are not going to achieve that internally.

    • 1
      5

      You silly Tamil
      If you want a Tamil Nadu in SL, then go to Tamil Nadu LOL.
      All you “want” you’ve already got their.
      You don’t deserve anything in SL. Remember you are nothing more than foreign imports.
      Best solution for SL is the Malaysian model, where Tamils are treated like pets in a circus who do the bidding of their Malaysian masters as and when commanded, never challenging this position of slave and accepting it blindly. Malay’s were smart not to play “democracy” with blood demading Tamils when they started causing problem and caged them quickly in 1957.
      See how peaceful and properous that country is once they “sorted” their Tmail problem. Good lessons for SL.

      • 2
        0

        ‘You silly Tamil’

        Who do you mean?

        Your concoction of the Malaysian stories shows you don’t know much about what is going on in Malaysia. Never mind, if you can’t find reliable sources to study about it, you could start off with Wikipedia. Another truth is evident- you have not travelled to Malaysia. :))))

        Stop interfering in other countries and passing your 5 cents worth communal ideas.

        You still don’t want to change your handle name, huh?

      • 4
        0

        White Flag Sinkalam

        We have the luxury of two homes unlike you.

  • 2
    0

    White Flags.

    You should not compare incomparables.Tamils are not indigenous to Malaysia.They have been there only from British times.

    Tamils are ofcourse indigenous to Srilanka.Pl.read authentic History!

  • 3
    0

    Mangala Samaraweera:

    Such developments are important also to clear the name of our armed forces who have received international recognition as a professional and disciplined force. Today, our courageous soldiers are in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal saving the lives of those affected by the recent devastating earthquake:

    Having read the above before going to sleep I am seething with anger the morning after.

    I want you to read what I am about to right carefully and give me an answer if you feel able to as I am going to write to the following people to smash your fantasy. If you care to give me your e mail I will e mail a copy of my letter or alternatively I will send a copy to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London.

    1) UN Commissioner who you managed to hoodwink.
    2) John Kerry and it might be too late to ask him to take the issue up with you.
    3) UN State department.
    4) British Foreign Department.

    Recently in response to a comment by Usha Sriskantha Raja about some of CBKs assertions I wrote sticking up for CBK. But now with hindsight I feel I have done Usha a disservice and I owe her an apology because you lot are all the same.
    I will also sending a copy to Buckingham Palace as the Queen asked MS ( responding to a Crowd who were outside protesting against MS) don’t they know that there is a New Government. But little does she know that it is headed by same people but in different cloths.

    The following will form the basis of my letter.

    You paint a picture of your armed forces as a professional and disciplined force.
    But it is against the weight of evidence.
    At least if you had said they were under tremendous pressure and acting under orders I may have accepted.
    Your armed forces fought a Bloody War breaching all international Conventions.
    Herding people in to the so called Safe Heavens and shelling Hospitals and some of your Generals who fled have given evidence to the UN confirming this. The carnage has been confirmed by UN experts.

    If you had any decency left in you will withdraw that statement which amounts to deceiving the UN. CBK said that Sri Lanka had people who are capable of conducting an Inquiry with integrity. Let me ask you how can be so confident when you have cleared your Armed forces even before the Inquiry has started.

  • 0
    0

    The emergency powers during na emergency or disastar should be strenthened. The Public Security Act must meet any eventuality. Ms made provision for the Army to be brought on to the street in face of post election violence. Oliver Goonatileke handled the riots at the time very well.MR was able to defeat terrosm only because of JRs Constitution and ammendments. RW was able to sign a peace pact with the Tigers because of this. Unitary power og central power involves a cohision needed in diversity.
    A canda haliya could be a possibility with strikes, agitation and hatral. Unifying ethnic groups and terrosim of the sort of small groups is a possibility. Collecting information of bank accounts ,tapped phones should be done with stelth.

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