PA lays condition for returning defense ministry

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 December 2003, 15:20 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s main opposition Peoples Alliance Friday called on the ruling United National Front government (UNF) to bring a proposal for the abolition of the executive presidency if the UNF insists on taking control over the defense ministry for taking the peace process forward.

At a press briefing held Friday by the PA, one of its senior leaders and former minister, Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva, said that Professor G.L.Peiris could bring such a proposal in the parliament in his capacity as Minister of Constitutional Affairs in the UNF government.

PA media spokesman, Dr.Sarath Amunugama, said the current constitution makes it mandatory for the President to hold the defense ministry. The President was not against handing over certain responsibilities if necessary to the UNF government.

Referring to the committee stage debate on the defense ministry, which is to be taken up on Wednesday, Dr.Amunugama said that Sri Lanka's Prime Minister or a minister named by him should submit the votes on the defense ministry next Wednesday in parliament. He expressed confidence that the Prime Minister would respect the tradition and oblige.

The current defense minister is the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge.

Dr.Amunugama further said the talks between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna have been concluded. The agreement to form a political alliance between the two parties could be signed very shortly. Five constituent parties in the Peoples Alliance have agreed such a coalition. The other two parties, Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist party have been requested to take a decision in this regard, he said.

The SLFP is the main constituent of the PA. The Sinhala nationalist cum Marxist JVP is the third largest party in current parliament, with sixteen parliamentarians.

 

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