Constitutional Reforms debate begins today

Parliament will sit as the Constitutional Assembly (CA) today to commence a three-day debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee that includes proposals for a new Constitution.

The debate will be held from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm on all three days. This is the sixth meeting of the Constitutional Assembly.

The Interim Report was tabled in the Constitutional Assembly on September 21 by the Steering Committee Chairman and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

All Parliamentarians, except the five MPs of the National Freedom Front led by MP Wimal Weerawansa are members of the Assembly. The NFF members pulled out of the Assembly in July.

The interim report, which deals with the vital aspects of Constitutional reforms including the electoral reforms, devolution of power and nature of the State, spells out the contours of Constitutional Bill. The PM presenting the interim report requested a vibrant discussion on its proposals, observing that the Constitution bill will be developed with the consensus of all.

The Steering Committee conducted 73 meetings between April 2016 and September 2017 to formulate the interim report. It was tabled along with the observations made by various parties including the Joint Opposition, SLFP, TNA, JHU and JVP.

In the meantime, the reports of six sub-committees on “Fundamental Rights, Judiciary, Finance, Public Service, Law and Order, Centre-Periphery” were presented to the Constitutional Assembly by the Prime Minister on November 19. A three-day debate on Constitutional reforms initially scheduled from January 9 was postponed indefinitely as there was no consensus among the political parties. 

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