UNF considers holding referendum on peace process

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 April 2003, 11:16 GMT]
"The government is in the process of seriously considering a proposal to hold a referendum with the objective of seeking public opinion on the peace process," said the Cabinet spokesman and Minister of Constitutional Affairs Mr. G.L.Peiris at a press briefing held Thursday, sources said.

"A proposal to hold a non-binding referendum has been presented by leaders of civil organizations, leading clergy and laymen," said Minister Peiris.

Professor Peiris said, "a peace ordinance embodying the progress of peace talks conducted so far will be presented to parliament. The proposed draft bill will also include proposals to pave way for the implementation of a final political resolution. The draft bill would be presented in parliament in an orderly manner."

"The opinion of all intellectuals is that it is more appropriate to conduct a non-binding referendum before parliament approved such a measure. This will further strengthen the peace programme of the UNF government," said Minister Peiris.

The government is not bound by the constitution to hold a non-binding referendum. Such a referendum had been held in South Africa for the success of peace process, said cabinet spokesman Mr.Peiris.

If the public express displeasure to the referendum, at the peace process and the progress achieved in peace talks held so far then we would have to reconsider the entire peace process, said Minister Peiris.

However the United National Front government hopes to consider the practical aspects of holding a non-binding referendum after the Sri Lanka aid summit scheduled to be held during the first week of June in Tokyo, Japan, Mr.Peiris stated.

Minister Peiris said seventh round of peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam would commence on April 29 and it would conclude on May 2 at Thailand, sources said.

 

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