Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that on being elected president he would hold a referendum to find a solution to the ethnic conflict.
Wickremesinghe, told a media briefing in Colombo that depending on the outcome of the referendum a new constitution could be drawn up.
He, said under the Sri Lankan constitution power lies with people and it is they who can help him achieve peace.
Repeatedly stressing the importance of SLFP cooperation, Wickremesinghe said on being elected president he would invite the SLFP leader to work with him in resolving the ethnic conflict.
`I will not only talk to the SLFP leader but also to the JVP and all parties willing to joining me in achieving peace.`
Wickremesinghe, said that he was willing to bring SLFP members into his government in an effort to achieve a national consensus that is so vital for achieving permanent peace.
Asked if he would dissolve parliament on being elected president, Wickremesinghe said he would first talk to the SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga on whether she was willing to work with him in the national interest .
`The question of dissolving parliament arises only if she refuses. Then as President I could call a parliamentary election which I know the UNP would win hands down. But my priority is to work with the SLFP in achieving peace and security for the country.`
Wickremesinghe said that he was willing to give the JVP an opportunity to talk to the LTTE and convince them to give up their armed struggle.
`I will invite the JVP to talk to the LTTE even before me. Let them convince the LTTE to change its mind on the final solution to the ethnic conflict.`
The main issue at the forthcoming election, he said was the state of the economy and unbearable cost of living but the SLFP and JVP were trying to divert attention by bringing up non existent issues.
`Without answering their woeful economic performance the SLFP and JVP are trying to frighten the people by saying the country would be divided`, he said.