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First draft of Sri Lanka’s proposed new constitution submitted to Parliamentary commitee

The committee headed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe  will prepare a draft constitution which needs to be approved by constituent assembly formed by a Parliament resolution in 2015.

Parliamentarian and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathi Wickramarathna told our AIR Colombo correspondent that the legal draft also called zero draft is based on recommendations of report of six sub committees which submitted their reports last year.

He said the draft proposes a unitary constitution for the country with greater devolution to provinces. Mr. Jayampathy asserted that the draft contains provisions enable effective powers to provinces so that it cannot be rolled back.

Political parties representing minority ethnic Tamils have demanded greater powers to govern themselves with a section of them demanding a federal constitution.

The 13th amendment introduced as part of India Sri Lanka accord in 1987 had helped establish provincial councils to be elected directly. However, the powers of these councils have been gradually reduced through various central legislations which minority Tamil groups are opposed to.

The new constitution making process was a key promise of new government elected in 2015 under President but it has been delayed as it was supposed to be completed by 2016.

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