CWC undecided on Referendum
[TamilNet, Friday, 27 July 2001, 21:42 GMT]
The Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), a constituent party in the ruling People's Alliance is to make a decision on the proposed referendum after meeting President Chandrika Kumaratunge next Monday, a leading member of the CWC said. He made this announcement soon after a delegation from the CWC, headed by Mr. Arumugam Thondaman, met with the President Friday morning.
The CWC delegation comprising its parliamentarians briefed the President on the party's position on the proposed referendum, scheduled to be held on August 21.
The CWC reportedly expressed its concerns that the electoral system envisaged in the new constitution would deny the plantation Tamils of "the justified political clout" that the proportional system had given them.
The President thereafter expressed her views and wanted to have a second round of talks with them on Monday. Parliamentarian Mr.R.Yogarajan said, "The President has intimated to us that she would tell her position on Monday as regards the replacement of the PR system with an electoral system."
Authoritative CWC sources said that the decision to support the Referendum would hinge on the President's response Monday.
Meanwhile, fifteen other estate sector trade unions met on Wednesday at Hatton decided to vote against the referendum as they believed the new constitution would have clauses that would "curtail the political clout" of plantation Tamils in parliament.
Political circles expect that the CWC is likely to go along with these other estate sector unions if the President refused to abandon the electoral system in the new constitution.