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The need for consensus

The proposed meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss current developments would no doubt be welcomed by the public at large in the current context. This follows a meeting between Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and the Opposition Leader.

The forging of a national consensus to deal with the multifaceted challenges confronting the nation has today assumed greater importance more than at any other time in the country's post independence history. This is more so with regard to the national question which has defied a solution all these years chiefly due to party politics.

Addressing media heads at Temple Trees on Tuesday the President said he would soon brief the Opposition Leader on current developments including the Wanni humanitarian mission and efforts to evolve a political solution. As he said, the UNP could have made a more positive contribution by participating in the All Party Conference.

It is hoped that the Opposition Leader would avail of this opportunity to make a positive contribution particularly in respect of efforts to arrive at a political solution to the current conflict. It is also hoped that this would be the beginning of a continuing dialogue for consensus building on all national issues between the two major political parties.

We have time and again in these columns advocated the need for unity by the country's two major political parties if we are to successfully deal with the national question. Lack of trust had right along proved to be the bugbear to bring about this unity and the forging of a consensus.

This political brinkmanship has to be stopped at least now when there is a distinct possibility of the war being brought to an end paving the way for a political solution.

The time has come for all major political parties to put behind their differences and respond to the rallying call of the nation at this crucial phase in our history.

It is time the country's political leadership acted decisively and not pass on the conflict into the future leaving it to the next generation. This calls for mature leadership on all sides. There could be no more opportune time than this for statesmanship.

We say this is because there are at long last positive signs on in the horizon that the decades long conflict is reaching an end. Very soon those who had been advocating a political solution would be provided with that opportunity with the crushing of terrorism.

The UNP which has been in the thick of things vis-a-vis the ethnic conflict could well provide valuable inputs paving the way for a strong consensus. As a party with vast experience in dealing with the problem its voice will also carry weight.

It is in this context that one can't fathom the party decision to withdraw from the consultative process of the APRC forum. After all it is the UNP who was instrumental is setting up political forums with the hope of reaching this consensus. The first All Party Conference was its own creation.

There were also other bodies such as the Mangala Moonesinghe Committee vested with the task of thrashing out a solution. The UNP can no longer afford to dwell on the fringes and place the ball in the Government's court to come out with a solution.

It would soon have to make up its mind and there is no better and opportune time as the present one.

It need not fear of the credit going to the Government for any workable solution. This is because it(the UNP) would be an integral part of this solution when legislation is passed in Parliament. Both the ruling party and the UNP are on the same wavelength when it comes to a political solution.

It is time therefore the UNP and its leader did the right thing now that the ideal groundwork is being laid for a political solution as a complement to the military success.

Redemarcating electoral boundaries


The 32- Member Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms chaired by Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Leader, Chief Government Whip and Minister of Urban Development Dinesh Gunawardena has specified that Articles 95 to 99 of the Constitution have to be amended to establish the Delimitation Commission for redemarcating the electoral boundaries.

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A clean, efficient and public-oriented Police force my aim - IGP


Hapuarachchige Jayantha Shantha Kumara Wickremaratne hailing from Wigoda, in Gampaha in the Minuwangoda Police division started his career as Police officer as an Assistant Superintendent of Police on August 01, 1974 after his graduation from the Sri Jayawardhanapura University.

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