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* 19th Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution to devolve power under consideration
Sun, Nov 11, 2012, 02:25 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka government is considering to introduce a 19th Amendment to the Constitution as a solution to the current national issue of power devolution while the momentum to abolish the India-doctored 13th Amendment is gathering momentum.

The government is currently preparing a draft amendment, legally termed as the 19th Amendment, as an alternative to the 13th Amendment.

The draft amendment will be presented to the parliamentary select committee that has been proposed to formulate a solution to the current ethnic issue, government sources revealed.

The campaign in Sri Lanka to repeal the provincial council system brought into existence by the 13th Amendment is receiving support from government allies and recently the National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa, joined by the nationalist party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), called on the government to take firm steps to repeal the 13th Amendment.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Budget speech last Thursday indicated that a change in the prevailing Provincial Council system is necessary to make devolution more meaningful to the people.

The President noted that devolution should not be a political reform that will lead the country to separation but a mechanism that would unify the country.

Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of the opposition and the United National Party (UNP), yesterday held a meeting with Minister Weerawansa to discuss the call by the NFF to abolish the 13th Amendment.

During the meeting the UNP representatives including General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and the Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, while not opposing the repeal of the Amendment, have opined that a different solution was required.

The 19th Amendment under works now will include options for the devolution of power and will replace the 13th Amendment to eliminate the existing provincial council system.

The government has meanwhile renewed its invitation to the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, to participate in the PSC to discuss the change to the Constitution. The government has said that it is ready to allow more time for TNA to take a final decision on the process.

** Related Story :: Sri Lanka\'s provincial council system needs changes for more meaningful devolution - President



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