President’s all-party meeting centring around 13A receives diverse opinions from Opposition
Colombo (LNW): The calling in of an all-party meeting by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday (26) at the President’s House to settle an accord on national reconciliation has met with diverse responses from the Opposition, days after it once again raised the debate on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the simultaneous national crisis.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) declared that it will be attending the President’s all-party meeting as long as it serves the interest of the people but will not fall prey to political schemes. The SJB will not hesitate to unplug itself from the talks were it to sense any political play behind the negotiations, assured Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa.
The National People’s Power (NPP) said it would be boycotting the meeting as the President has already failed to fulfill the promises made so far with regard to the national crisis.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it would attend the meeting tomorrow, but the Tamil National People’s Front held a different opinion, saying that it would be boycotting the meeting.
A number of other political parties in Parliament including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (NFF) asserted that they will attend the all-party conference called in by the President, whilst the debate on the 13A finds its entry into a burning political arena, leading to contrast and diverse opinions by different political envoys.
Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told media that the President is of the opinion that a decision pertaining to the 13A would be reached only after discussing the matter with the Parliament and the party leaders.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was introduced to Sri Lanka as an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of July 1987, signed between then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and then Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardena, proposing the devolution of power, in an attempt to resolve the longstanding ethnic conflict. The outcome of it was the establishment of Provincial Councils.
The Accord proposed the devolution of power by sharing it, but none of the Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka are in operation and are only exercised by the governors appointed by the President himself. This led to a longstanding debate on the non provisions of powers to the Provincial Councils, and arguably, India’s intervention on the matter continues to heat up the scenario.