Referendum postponed

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 August 2001, 15:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunge in a proclamation issued Tuesday evening postponed for October 18 the referendum which has been scheduled to be held on August 21.

"Giving serious considerations to the recommendations and views expressed by Venerable Mahanayake Theras, members of Maha Sangha, religious dignitaries, religious organisations, political parties, civil groups, trade unions the referendum scheduled to be held on August 21 is postponed to October 18," said the proclamation issued by President Chandrika Kumaratunge.

chandrika_kumarathunge_9-p.jpg"I am pleased to observe that consensus has been emerging among the peace loving people of Sri Lanka that there should be constitutional reforms which would enable the establishment more democratic forms of governance and more representative parliament to facilitate the smooth implementation of the executive and legislature of the state", President Kumaratunge said in her statement in this regard.

President further said:

"It is significant that since the proclamation of the referendum political parties supporting the Peoples Alliance and the opposition have agreed to support the government to introduce the most urgent amendments to the constitution to achieve the wishes of the President even without the referendum.

"However if the political parties failed to reach an agreement under the provision amending the constitution, the President will not hesitate to proceed consult the people directly through the referendum scheduled to be held on October 18."

The proclamation to hold referendum on August 21 was issued by President Kumaratunge on 10th of July.

The postponement comes amidst reports that the government is brokering a deal with the main opposition United National Party.

Postal voting was expected to begin on Thursday.

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