July 25, Colombo: In a rarely seen unity, leaders of Sri Lanka's opposition political parties and civil organizations convened Thursday to build the momentum to call for abolishing of the Executive Presidency.
Leaders of Sri Lanka's major opposition parties, led by the popular Buddhist leader and convener of the National Movement For Social Justice, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, gathered at the New Town Hall in Colombo Thursday to launch a 'Road Map' to abolish the Executive Presidential System and reactivate the 17th amendment.
Ven. Sobhitha Thero, who is promoted by certain sections as the common Presidential candidate at next Presidential elections, led the program.
Among the participants were Opposition and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunga, Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Sunil Handunneththi, Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan and TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran, and the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
Buddhist religious observations were carried out before the beginning of the meeting by Girambe Ananda Thero, the Deputy Chief Incumbent of Ramanna Nikaya.
Speaking at the event under the theme "Why must we abolish the executive presidency?", Sobhitha Thero said that all forces of the country needed to come to one platform to form a just society.
He said the country's present Constitution is being rejected by the masses each day and not just politicians but also religious leaders are calling to calls to abolish the Executive Presidency due to the increasing crises that have plagued the country because of the unlimited political power a single individual possesses as the Executive President.
President's Counsel Dr. Jayampathi Wickramaratne presenting a road map for the abolition of executive presidency said the common candidate who will become the President at the next elections has to implement it within six months after being elected.
Dr. Wickramaratne suggested forming a "rainbow coalition" in order to effectively implement the ‘Road Map’ as planned.
The Head of the Department of Law Faculty of Peradeniya University Dr. Deepika Udagama said tthe executive presidency had to be abolished through introducing a new constitution. She pointed out that annexing amendments to the constitution would not succeed.
The advisory editor of Ravaya newspaper Victor Ivan and attorney Ravi Jayawardana also addressed the seminar while former Chairman of the Federation of University Teachers' Associations Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri moderated the seminar.