President outlines "Constitutional Revolution"

[TamilNet, Sunday, 22 July 2001, 15:34 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunge said Sunday that the present Constitution could be amended even without a two-thirds majority in parliament if the government obtained a clear mandate at next month's referendum. "How this could be done would be revealed in due course," she told activists and representatives of the ruling People's Alliance who attended a special meeting at the racecourse in Colombo.

chandrika_kumarathunge_11-p.jpgThe President said that there have been instances in world history where measures had been taken outside the perimeter of the national constitution for the well being of the people. She cited the example of Abraham Lincoln, who as US President "took such steps on 1st January 1863 outside the constitution, despite strong opposition at that time."

Accoridng to the President, the present Constitution is undemocratic and the new Constitution will "uphold democratic ideals." The new constitution will have provisions to hold provincial council, local council and parliamentary elections simultaneously every six years, the President said.

She said that the ethnic problem should be addressed by political means, with the participation of the clergy and other representatives, but "the military efforts against the LTTE should go on."

"I would commit my life to safeguard the country, people and the party, as the country is at stake at the referendum. Anybody who cannot pledge support to this endeavor is welcome to leave the party," the President declared.

"Tamil political parties and Tamil youths opposed the adoption of the present constitution in 1978. Therefore these parties could not oppose its replacement now."

 

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