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Friday, January 20, 2012 - 5.39 GMT

Govt to establish an Upper Chamber to devolve power

 

The government is planning to establish an advisory body to formulate legislation on the devolution of power.

This will have special reference to the aspirations of the minority communities, especially the Tamil people.

Addressing a media briefing on Thursday the Government Spokesman and Minister of Media & Information Keheliya Rambukwella said the government expects to establish a Upper Chamber to represent minority groups and academics as a viable link between the Central Government and the Provinces.

Explaining the government's initiative, the Minister said the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is already a part of the Constitution since 1987, and the establishment of the Upper Chamber, act as an advisory body to the legislature, is what meant by the 13+ or 13 and beyond.

The Minister said the government wants to arrive at a consensus on a political solution with all parties represented in Parliament and appointed the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for that purpose.

"It (PSC) is where we can arrive at a solution on this issue. That is why the government insisted the TNA nominate their representatives to the PSC," the Minister said.

The PSC is expected to recommend constitutional measures that need to address the grievances of the minorities, provide solutions for all people and suggest steps to enhance the unity of people in the country.

He explained that any consensus reached outside the PSC would have to be brought to Parliament for its approval.

"If the TNA wants a solution they should come within the PSC," the Minister said.

Referring to the issue of giving land and police powers to the provinces under the 13th Amendment, the Minister said the government has concerns about granting full powers but it is prepared to discuss the extent of these powers to be devolved.

He pointed out that although the President has the executive powers to take unilateral decisions in this regard, he prefers a solution through consensus of all political parties and the PSC would serve that purpose.



 

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Last modified: January 20, 2012.

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