Constitutional Assembly not Constituent Assembly – Dr Jayampathy
Advisor Dr.Jayampathy Wickramaratne told the Sunday Observer there was a
misconception regarding the terminology, where the new process is being
referred to as a Constituent Assembly whereas it is not so. “This is a
Constitutional Assembly and that is the difference.
At present, a Motion has only been moved. Parliament will reconvene
on January 12 where it would be considered.”
Responding to opposition from members of the National Freedom Front
led by Wimal Weerawansa and the Joint Opposition spearheaded by UPFA MP
Dinesh Gunawardena, Dr. Wickramaratne said their arguments were
“The 1978 Constitution clearly states that under Article 75b,
Parliament is bestowed with legislative power to make amendments or
repeal an existing Constitution,” he said. “The logic of the Opposition
that the Government should initially call for a Referendum prior to the
drafting process is incomprehensible.”
He said a vote would be taken but a date has not been stipulated.
Yesterday Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed that Parliament
should be converted into a Constitutional Assembly which will deliberate
on drafting a new Constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena told
Parliament that since Sri Lanka’s Independence from Britain, there has
not been a concerted effort to unify ethnic communities.The draft
Constitution will be approved by the House before it is submitted at a
NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said the Government wanted to avoid
seeking recommendations from the Supreme Court, because the new
Constitution will comprise clauses which would definitely call for a
Meanwhile, members of the Joint Opposition led by Dinesh Gunawardena
had voiced their objections during an all-party meeting on Thursday.
However, they said that neither the President nor the Prime Minister
heeded their concerns.