UNP to oppose PA-JVP sponsored 17th amendment

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 September 2001, 15:28 GMT]
The Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party said Wednesday that it would not support the 17th amendment to constitution drafted jointly by the ruling People's Alliance and Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna. "Several vital clauses included in the draft 17th amendment prepared by the UNP led joint opposition including the JVP earlier have not been incorporated in the present draft bill. Therefore my party is not in a position to support the PA-JVP sponsored draft bill," said Mr.Karu Jayasuriya, Deputy Leader of the UNP and Colombo district parliamentarian.

The draft bill prepared by the joint opposition led by UNP included provision for eight member-constitutional council. "It included the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and five eminent neutral personalities who are acceptable to all sections in politics. The present draft billed jointly prepared by PA-JVP has empowered the executive President to nominate members to the constitutional council. This would certainly tamper the independence of the council," said Mr.Karu Jayasuriya.

However he said that representatives of JVP and UNP are scheduled to hold special discussions Wednesday late evening regarding the 17th amendment draft bill in a bid to solve differences arisen over the composition of the constitutional council and to ensure two third majority in parliament.

The 17th amendment would come into force if it passed in parliament with a two-third majority. The support of the UNP is needed to obtain two-third majority, political sources said.

Meanwhile Minister Richard Pathirana Wednesday said that the 17th amendment draft bill have already been submitted to the Supreme Court for its determination whether the bill is consistent to the constitution or not. Mr.Richard Pathirana said the draft 17th amendment would be tabled in parliament on September 24 as an urgent bill. The government expects the determination of the Supreme Court before Friday.


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