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* 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution is a time bomb waiting to explode - minister
Thu, Oct 25, 2012, 10:09 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 25, Colombo: National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa has said the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is similar to a time bomb waiting to explode.

Explaining that the 13th Amendment would result in a federal governing structure where powers are devolved to the provinces, Minister Weerawansa has noted that the government and the country would be faced with many problems in such an eventuality.

According to Weerawansa, the government needs to take firm steps to repeal the 13th Amendment.

The Minister has requested from the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold a referendum to repeal the Provincial Council system.

Weerawansa's NFF and another coalition partner of the government, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have commenced a campaign calling on the government to repeal the 13th Amendment.

Meanwhile, the Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena says that Sri Lanka has not gained any constructive progress through the provincial council system.

Participating in a discussion programme at the state-run radio SLBC, Minster Gunawardena said provincial council system has created a harmful impact on the country's national security, unitary nature and the development of the country.

Elaborating further, the Minister has said the 13th Amendment has been brought forward without any extensive dialogue on the issue and as a result of the absence of an in depth analysis of the system, many serious problems have been created.

Minister Gunawardena further said that the government is now implementing a programme to decentralize power to the village level.

The campaign in Sri Lanka to repeal the provincial council system brought into existence by the 13th Amendment is growing momentum as the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, is refusing to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee proposed by the government to devolve power.

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary had publicly called for abolishing the Amendment after the major Tamil Party Tamil National Alliance claimed that India is keeping a close watch on the controversial Divi Neguma Bill since the government through the bill was attempting to take over powers devolved to the provincial councils under the 13th Amendment.



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