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Lanka: New Panel for constitutional changes

[Express Buzz, Friday, 14 May 2010 09:24 No Comment]

The new Sri Lankan presidential panel on bringing about national reconciliation in the post-war era would have seven members, the cabinet spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, told mediapersons here on Thursday.

The suggestions of the multi-ethnic committee would help the Mahinda Rajapaksa government formulate appropriate constitutional changes, he added. The constitutional changes will be brought about before Rajapaksa begins his second term on November 17 this year.

Earlier, the presidential secretariat had issued a statement saying that the panel would go into the events between 2002 and 2009 to find out what went wrong and why the government had to go to war to finish the LTTE.

The panel would find out if any person or organisation had indulged in violation of human rights and suggest action. It would also propose compensation for the victims of violence and violations of human rights. But the stress would be on “restorative” rather than “retributive” justice.

CHANGES IN STAGES: Meanwhile, the leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) and Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa told reporters that the constititional changes that were envisaged would take place in stages.

In the first stage, the two-term limit for a person to be President of the country would be removed.

In the second stage, there would be electoral reforms, with the introduction of the First Past the Post System and the abolition of the system wherein each voter has three preferential votes.

PARVATHI AMMAL HOSPITALISED: Parvathi Ammal, the paralysed octogenarian mother of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam  chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has been admitted to the Government District Hospital in Valvettithurai, according to her legal guardian in Sri Lanka and former Member of Parliament, M K Sivajilingam. She was taken from Colombo to Valvettithurai in the northern district of Jaffna, in an ambulance by road on Wednesday.

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