Move to protect 13th Amendment

Eight alliance partners of the government had decided to initiate a dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and persuade the party to join the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to evolve a political solution, a senior Minister said yesterday.

Already these parties have formed a front to protect the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The parties are Communist Party of Senior Minister D. E.W. Gunasekara, Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader and Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, Ceylon Workers Congress leader and Minister of Livestock Development R. Thondaman, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, National Congress of Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister A.L.M. Athaullah, Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan, Prof. Tissa Vitarana of Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) and Democratic Left Front leader and Minister of National Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

The EPDP leader, an advocate of the 13th Amendment, had convened the meeting that was held in the parliamentary complex last week for two days.

Minister Gunasekara who attended the meeting said that all these parties enjoying the support of at least 25-30 MPs would act as a front to pre-empt any attempt to repeal the 13th Amendment.  He said that the parties drafted a letter to be sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa soon.

“This amendment was brought about to resolve the national question. It has to be preserved.  There is a demand by some members to repeal it. We are planning to meet the TNA to get their support for it,” he said.

In addition to these members, three members of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have also pledged their support to retain the 13th Amendment.  They are Ministers Dilan Perera, Reginald Cooray and Athauda Seneviratne.

The 13th Amendment, introduced in 1987, provided for the establishment of provincial council systems.( Kelum Bandara)

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