19th amendment will strengthen parliament- PM

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 September 2002, 15:52 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Wednesday said that the nineteenth constitutional amendment has the sole objective of strengthening parliament and not to curtail powers of any individual. "The nineteenth amendment will be passed in parliament before the presentation of 2003 budget," said Mr.Wickremasinghe addressing the government parliamentary group meeting Wednesday at the parliamentary complex.

"The nineteenth amendment will help political parties to reach a compromise on national issues without resorting to confrontational politics," said the Prime Minister.

Proposals made by President Chandrika Kumaratunge and the main opposition People's Alliance MPs have also been included in the draft 19th amendment bill. Even after it is gazetted, we will consider accommodating the views of others, said Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe.

Government sources said that the nineteenth amendment bill is to be gazetted Wednesday midnight following cabinet's approval.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main constituent of the People's Alliance, Wednesday dismissed media reports that close to ten of its parliamentarians have expressed willingness to support the nineteenth amendment in parliament.

Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, media spokesman of the SLFP said in a statement that his party is united in opposing the constitutional amendment.

Mr. Richard Pathirana, a former minister and now a PA parliamentarian, told reporters Tuesday that about 20 PA MPs are ready to support the UNF government to pass the constitutional amendment bill in parliament.


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