Won’t do anything that requires referendum – Ranil
March 26, 2015 02:20 pm
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe today expressed confidence that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution will be passed in Parliament with sufficient backing, despite objections voiced by certain parties including the JHU - a key partner of the government – and calls for a referendum.
Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva had said that the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution required a referendum as some provisions in the proposed amendment required the approval of the people.
Delivering a statement after the bill was presented in Parliament by the PM on Tuesday (24), the former Minister also claimed that the government seems to have deviated from the initial pledge and therefore a referendum would need to be held.
However, Wickremasinghe says that the court will rule on whether a public referendum is required for the 19th Amendment, which pushes for the amending of executive powers and restoration of independent commissions.
“We will not do anything that requires a referendum,” the Premier said, speaking to heads of media organizations this morning, with regard to the 19th Amendment. He further said that the government has been advised by the Attorney General that it does not require a referendum.
Asked how confidant his government is of passing of the amendment in the backdrop of certain government partners such as the JHU voicing objections to it, Wickramasinghe said he believes they would be able to find the support necessary to adopt the 19th Amendment.
On the topic of the pending report of the UN inquiry into allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, which was pushed back till September, Wickremasinghe said that the government is currently in the process of discussing the matter with the UN Human Rights Council and other countries.
We are already discussing with the UNHRC as well as the countries that brought the resolution against Sri Lanka regarding the possibility of resolving this, he said, adding, that the issue has to be handled with care.
The Prime Minister blamed the former government for the predicament faced by Sri Lanka with the international community while pointing out that matters would have been handled differently had his party – UNP - been in power during that period.
We are facing such a situation because of the people who held office in the past before us. They handled this in a different way. We are not going to handle the situation in the same manner as they did, he said.
If we were in power during that period when the resolution were brought against Sri Lanka we would have dealt with it in a completely different manner, Wickremasinghe told media heads at Temple Trees.
The Prime Minister stressed that his government is not “surrendering” to Western countries in any way and that a genuine effort of reconciliation is necessary.
“Also don’t think that it is surrendering to the West. We will not surrender but we have to find a way forward. So we need a genuine effort of reconciliation,” he said.
No place for terrorism
Wickremasinghe stated that no manner of a resurgence of terrorism will be allowed in the country, contrary to the allegations leveled against the government by certain parties of giving space to extremist groups.
“We will not allow the resurgence of terrorism in any part of the country,” he asserted.
The Prime Minister said that the type of terrorism currently prevailing in parts of the world is not the same as terrorism in the past and that terrorist activity around the world are changing.
He reiterated that the government will not tolerate any form of terrorism in the country.
Speaking regarding the concerns over the delay in punishing officials charged with corruption during the Rajapaksa regime, he stated that the due process of law cannot be rushed and that those who are guilty will be punished eventually.
We can’t just go and capture them. We have to follow the rule of law. We will abide by the law and punish the real perpetrators, he said.