Constitutional Steering Committee Interim report submitted:

Country’s Unitary Status protected :

Rights of all ensured :

Formulated on Buddhist principles and teachings:

Ideas and suggestions of all parties included :

Our country will be transformed through the new Constitution ushering in a an era of prosperity and development, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“After coming into power, we strengthened democracy ensuring equal rights to all Sri Lankans.

The new Constitution is one that ensures a strong economy based on a progressive framework, where its benefits will be shared by all citizens, said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who is the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly.

The Prime Minister made this comment when the Interim Report of the Constitutional Steering Committee was submitted to Parliament yesterday.

“The National Government has taken another step in fulfilling the pledge made on January 8, 2015 to introduce a new Constitution,” the Prime Minister said.

“We intend to formulate a Constitution that will benefit all Sri Lankans irrespective of their cast, creed or social standing. It is a Constitution that will bring about a strong economy which would benefit all. We must take this opportunity to strengthen our democracy and build stable peace.

“These are areas that we were deprived of over the past three decades. It is essential to build a strong democracy which will ensure prosperity to all,” the Prime Minister said.

“In order to bring in investment and generate employment that would enhance the prosperity of all Sri Lankans, a strong economy and development is essential,” Prime Minister Wickremeasinghe said.

“We have now been given an opportunity to build a bridge of peace expelling division and distance between the various races, which for so long had threatened economic development being held hostage by violence and volatility for so long,” the Prime Minister added.

Tabling the Interim Report of the Constitutional Steering Committee in Parliament yesterday,the Prime Minister said it was a foundation for discussion. All parties were given the opportunity to include their ideas and suggestions.

“We formulated this collectively and everyone’s ideas and suggestions have been included in this report. We have suggested that Sri Lanka should be a unitary state,” the Prime Minister said.

According to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, there are power devolution suggestions included in the report and the country’s future would be determined by the agreement reached.

The Prime Minister said all members are prepared to accept a united Sri Lanka which cannot be divided. The country is currently experiencing a huge transformation in the political landscape of this country and we are travelling in a new direction, he said adding that the government supports such a change. “We were battered by unimaginable hardships during the past three decades, but now for the first time we have been given the opportunity to stand on the same platform. This dedication and commitment we make to bring about peace and stability will make a huge difference to our future generations,” the Premier said.

“We cannot allow this opportunity to escape us. There is no room for revenge within our democracy.

The prominence given to Buddhism within our society will be safeguarded while the formulation of our new Constitution has been on the principles of Buddhism. We place our trust in the Buddhist teachings that it will guide our nation,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the government will not allow anyone to inculcate fear in the minds of the people and destroy the country’s economy creating instability and division.

“We have come before you with a solution. From the North to the South we have extended support in devolving power to the provinces,” the Prime Minister added.

“The Provincial Councils are known as the third level of state governance. It is a blessing that these proposals have received the approval and support of the government and the opposition. We need to discuss the Presidency and the Executive further and a broad discussion is needed. This interim report is a joint effort which received the support of President Maithripala Sirisena,” the Prime Minister said. “A Constitutional Council was established to oversee the process of a new Constitution. Hence, we hope that this will create a positive dialogue throughout the country. This is a historical juncture that will ensure our future generations a prosperous and peaceful nation. I expect this topic to not only be discussed within the Constitutional Council but discussed broadly among the general public throughout the country,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added.

The Prime Minister pointed out that in the end it should be a Constitution that will benefit the whole country. Hence, he invited all to take part in this historical and most significant process.

The Prime Minister said since coming into power, the National Government has established democracy and ensured peace and equal opportunities for all.

“We ensured the rights of all where the people can now express their views without fear of persecution. The media too has been given the freedom to criticise even the government. Today the international community too has confidence that we will establish a democratic and economically strong country. This government will ensure that through the devolution of power we empower all communities creating a close bond between the government and the people. We will not allow a handful to ruin our children’s future. This is the principle that the new Constitution will be based upon,” the Prime Minister added. 


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