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11 January, 2016 09:04 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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The Government on Saturday presented its plan for a new Constitution aimed at devolving power and preventing the sort of ethnic tensions that led to a long and bitter civil war that ended in 2009.

“The abolishing of the executive presidency, withdrawing the preference system and introducing a fairer electoral system, strengthening the democratic rights of the people and providing a constitutional answer to the national question,” said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in parliament as he outlined the new Consti-tution.

The resolution for the appointment of the Constitutional Assembly presented by the Premier moved in the House at a special session and thereafter the House adjourned until 12 January.

The resolution proposes establishing a Committee of Parli-ament referred to as the Constitutional Assembly which will consist of all Members of Parliament, for the purpose of deliberating and seeking the views and advice of the people on a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.Untitled-1

The Speaker of Parliament will be the Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly and there will be seven Deputy Chairmen of the Constitutional Assembly, who shall be elected by the Constitutional Assembly.

In the absence of the Speaker, the Constitutional Assembly shall elect one of the Deputy Chairmen to chair the sittings of the Assembly.

There will be clerks to the Constitutional Assembly for the purpose of recording the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and the committees, constitutional advisors, a legal secretary and assistants to the legal secretary and media staff including social media.

The Constitutional Assembly will appoint a Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice and not more than 11 other members of the Constitutional Assembly.
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