Minority parties reject UNP - G.L. Pieris

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 September 1998, 13:17 GMT]
The minority parties have rejected the United National Party (UNP) as a credible alternative and this why none of them went for its all party conference on free and fair elections on Monday Sept.14 in Colombo said Prof. G.L Pieris, Sri Lanka's minister for constitutional affairs today.

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He was addressing media persons this morning at the weekly cabinet press briefing.

When a journalist pointed out that the EPDP and the EPRLF had sent their representatives to the UNP conference, he replied that the minority parties had informed the PA that they were not sending any one of them officially and that some individuals may have attended in their private capacity.

"If the minority parties have rejected the UNP and if it is inconsequential politically then why is the government waiting for the opposition to come up with something to solve the ethnic conflict" another journalist asked the Minister.

He said they (the government) had to do so because of J.R Jayawardena's (former President) constitution which stipulates a two thirds majority in Parliament for implementing the devolution package.

Prof. Pieris also pointed out that no party can secure two third of the seats in any future election under the system of proportional representation which was introduced by the former President.

However, the minister asserted that the government will not forever await the UNP's co-operation to implement the peace package but will consider three options to do it.

He said that his government can hold a non-binding referendum or the Presidential election or the general elections to get the people's endorsement for its efforts to solve the ethnic problem.

One of the journalists drew the attention of the Minister to the fact that the PA had put off the provincial council election on the grounds that it did not want to pull out troops from Op.Jayasikurui to provide security for the polls although in the six weeks since the postponement no major military operation was undertaken by the army in the Vanni.

 

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