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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2041

Sangha would defeat new constitution through referendum though approved in Parliament - Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera

Colombo, 25 October, (Asiantribune.com):

Even if the proposed new constitution gets two thirds majority of the Parliament, we will bring out all members of the Maha Sangha to the streets and defeat it when it goes for a referendum, the Vice Chancellor of Sri Jayawardenapura University Professor Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera stated addressing a media briefing yesterday held at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress auditorium.

These Buddhist monks vowed to defeat the government's move to bring in a new constitution or to amend the existing one - a move which they alleged would pave the way for the division of the country.

He said that the Maha Sangha was firmly of the view that a new constitution was not the need of the hour. "We stress that even amendments to the constitution at this point should be restricted the electoral system", he said.

Although the Prime Minister and various other parties have said that so far no new constitution or a draft has been prepared and that those who talk about it are doing so without knowing about it, the thera stated that they are expressing their views having had deeply studied the matter.

The Thera stated; " When studying these proposals it is very clear that constitutional recommendations embodied therein which would put the entire people's future and the well-being of the community as well as factors that link divisional motives."

Referring to President's and Prime Minister's claim attempts were being made to mislead the public as regards the new constitution, and Ven. Wimalaratana Thera requested the President and the Prime Minister to clarify those allegations and prove if they were wrong.

He said a close examination of the proposals for a new constitution clearly revealed that there were some proposals that would not only jeopardize peaceful co-existence of the citizens of Sri Lanka, but also help promote separatism.

Similarly, the special priority position accorded to Buddhism had been diluted by the introduction of alternative amendments to Article 9 of the Constitution, the thera said.

Among them, (a) clauses that weakens parliamentary powers, (b) abolishing currently existing provisions which control in a provision by the President through the Governors appointed by him, (c) establishing a Constitutional Court will usurp the existing powers of the Supreme Court to make rulings on constitutionality of legislation pertaining to key areas such as land matters, recognizing of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, abolishing of the Concurrent List in the 13th Amendment so as to eliminate the powers of government to intervene in any provincial issues with national implications and doing away with the prevailing provisions for the government or the parliament to formulate national policies in any subject area.

Stressing that the alternative proposals in the main document camouflaged the real intention of the government and some terms had different and conflicting meanings Sinhala, Tamil and English, Ven. Wimalaratana Thera said that even though the proposals did not use the term federal directly, it had been subtly introduced by use of words that had different meanings in the three languages.

In Sinhala version the word "Ekiya" (unitary) is there but the English version had the term, ‘United’," he noted.

The Thera stressed; " "We are not influenced by any political party and we don’t want to topple the government. What we want is to defeat the proposed Constitution and if people think that they want to amend the executive presidency and electoral process it can be done later. But, for now, the country does not need a new constitution or amendments for the existing constitution."

- Asian Tribune -

Sangha would defeat new constitution through referendum though  approved in Parliament - Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera
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