Minority parties ready to accept unitary status – PM

Depending on UNP-SLFP common stand on interim report

Premier Wickremesinghe speaking on minority parties’ conditions at Wekunagoda, Galle, the day after he presented the interim report on Constitution to parliament (pic courtesy PM’s Office)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that minority parties are ready to consider retention of the unitary status of the country in the proposed Constitution and privileged status to Buddhism in case the two major political parties, the UNP and the SLFP agree to grant maximum possible devolution, create a Senate, protect human rights protection of all communities, ensure judicial independence and resettle of those displaced due to the conflict as mentioned in the first Chapter of the interim report on the New Constitution.

The PM said so, addressing a gathering at Wekunagoda, Galle on September 22 after opening newly built police quarters there. He that minority parties had never before reached such an agreement.

Wickremesinghe said the minority parties were of the opinion that they had no option but to take a unilateral stand when the two major parties engaged in a tug-o-war over the national issue. However, they had assured they wouldn’t oppose the country’s unitary character and privileged status for Buddhism if the two major parties accepted the interim report, the PM Wickremesinghe said.

Recalling how minority parties had thrown their weight behind Maithripala Sirisena’s presidential candidature at January 2915 presidential polls, Premier Wickremesinghe said that they had reached an agreement on a common plan in Nov 2014.

Declaring that a unity government was required to address the national issue, Premier Wickremesinghe said the current arrangement wasn’t beneficial to the UNP though the party didn’t mind political disadvantage if it helped secure a permanent peace.

Wickremesinghe said the change of government and formation of a coalition administration in 2015 were meant to advance the constitutional making process.

Premier Wickremesinghe declared that they had been able to find solutions through the interim report.

He said the report would be taken up for discussion at the end of Oct this year. (SF)

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