The Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday that it would go ahead with the constitution making process,but the final decision on enacting a new Constitution would be made by Parliament.
“There is no one need for anyone to get unduly agitated over it, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, told the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Information Department.
He said that the New Constitution Bill, would contain proposals from a cross section of Sri Lankans and retain the unitary status of the country without doing away with the current status of Buddhism.
A referendum would be held on the new Constitution if necessary, he added.
Responding to a statement by the Mahanayake Theras that there was no need to change the Constitution, the Minister noted that 6.2 million people had endorsed Maithripala Sirisena’s 2015 presidential election manifesto, which had clearly stated that a brand new Constitution would be introduced and another mandate had been given at the subsequent general election.
Senaratne said it should not be forgotten that a large number of Buddhist monks had also voted for change on Jan. 8, 2015. “I cannot understand how those who protested on the streets demanding that the executive presidency be abolished, can behave in this manner today. Their political agenda is very clear for everyone to see.”
Pointing out that the people’s verdict could not be disregarded, Senaratne stressed that the proposed changes were aimed at uniting all communities and developing the country and not dividing.
Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Affairs Gayantha Karunathillaka said that the unnecessary commotion was due to some opportunistic politicians making false statements at temples and market places. “They should come and talk responsibly in Parliament, which is the decision making body. Nothing has been finalised. The draft Constitution is still being discussed with all stakeholders.”