Aug 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's opposition political parties led by the main opposition United National Party yesterday signed an Agreement for Consensus called SAMAGI to secure and revive democracy in the country.
According to the main opposition UNP, the present government has commenced a "dictatorial journey" by introducing the 18th Amendment in 2010 and abolishing the independent commissions which were established through the 17th Amendment to enable social justice and good governance.
The opposition parties say they believe that the Executive Presidency has given enormous powers to the President to act dictatorially and therefore, it should be abolished.
The coalition of parties says they will unanimously focus on the need to formulate a new constitution favorable to all communities in place of the existing one which concentrates too much power on one individual.
The new Agreement, the opposition says, is aimed at creating a common platform, not only for political party members, but for all groups of people in the society who are concerned about the direction the country is heading.
The movement also hopes to secure agreements with sections of the government who are concerned about the excessive powers of the Executive Presidency.
The Agreement aims to build a broad 'Force for Unity' not confined to a community, religion, caste or class, uniting all under an agreement of consensus.
The Force for Unity proposes a 10 point plan to fight against the dictatorship and establish democracy.
Main Principles of the 10-Point Plan
- Abolishing the Executive Presidency and establishing a Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible to Parliament.
- Abolishing the 18th Amendment, re-adopting the 17th Amendment and strengthening the full independence of govt. institutions.
- Protecting the rights of all national communities who consider Sri Lanka the Homeland and preserving their identity.
- Abolishing the Preferential Voting System and thereby strengthening parliamentary democracy.
- Strengthening the right to information and protection and the Freedom of Speech and Expression.
- Re -establishing the Rule of Law and the independence of the Judiciary.
- Strengthening Laws to control the manage the cost of living, and against corruption.
- Protecting welfare measures including free education and free health services.
- Introducing a Peoples' Oriented Development Programme, as opposed to one which is beneficial to the rulers, minimizing the gap between the have and have nots.
- As a basic step towards the restoration of good governance, through the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LL R C), ensuring the sovereignty of all communities, thereby consolidating the independence of the country.