Govt-opposition agree for debate on 17th amendment

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 September 2001, 17:17 GMT]
Leaders of all political parties Friday unanimously agreed to debate the 17th amendment to the constitution Monday. At a meeting held at parliamentary complex chaired by the Speaker Mr.Anura Bandaranaike, parliamentarian Mr.Wimal Weerawanse of the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna moved that the 17th amendment should be taken up on Monday and be debated to a finish the same day. Leaders of other political parties attended the meeting agreed to this suggestion, parliamentary sources said.

Accordingly, the 17th amendment bill would be taken up for debate on Monday at 10 a.m. Eleven hours have been allocated for the debate. The vote would be taken up around 9 p.m. the same day, sources said.

Meanwhile the three-member bench of the Supreme Court Friday heard submissions of the Attorney General and counsel who represented several interest parties in regard to the 17th amendment bill to the constitution. The Supreme Court instructed the Attorney General to revise certain clauses of the 17th amendment bill to be in consistent with the constitution.

The draft bill was taken up for consideration before the Chief Justice N.Sarath Silva, Justices P.Eddusuriya and H.S.Yapa. At conclusion the Chief Justice informed that the determination of the court would be intimated to the Speaker and the President.

In the meantime, the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna Friday said that substantial agreement has been reached with other opposition parties including the main opposition United National Party in regard to the composition of the proposed constitutional council embodied in the 17th amendment.

"All opposition parties represented in parliament at a meeting held Friday morning have agreed to effect some changes in the composition of the constitutional council", said the JVP in a communiqué released Friday evening.

The JVP leaders held several rounds of talks since Tuesday with the leaders of the UNP and other opposition parties to sort out differences in regard to the composition of the constitutional council.

"A JVP delegation will meet the leaders of ruling People's Alliance Saturday to discuss the proposed changes by the joint opposition to the 17th amendment bill", Parliamentarian Wimal Weeravanse said.

He expressed optimism that changes proposed by the opposition parties to the 17th amendment bill would be agreeable to the ruling People's Alliance.

President Chandrika Kumaratunge and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Friday evening visited the historic Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic) at Kandy, capital of the hill country and offered flowers. Media personnel were debarred from entering the Dalada Maligawa until President's party left the place for security reasons, sources said.

 

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