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Saturday, 4 September 2010

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Constitutional reforms:

Three UNP MPs support Govt

* Reforms people-friendly, development oriented

* Many wrong turns in recent UNP history

Senior UNP MPs Earl Gunasekera and Lakshman Seneviratne yesterday said that they were in support of the envisaged proposals to amend the existing constitution as they were beneficial to the country and its people.

The duo during a media briefing at Earl Gunasekera MPs house said that they had come before the press to inform their stance to the public on the matter after controversy erupted at a recent UNP Working Committee meeting after both suggested that the UNP should vote for the amendments.

They said that they would have a constant dialogue with other UNP MPs on the matter until September 8 and would try to persuade the party to vote in favour as the amendments were people centric and pro-development oriented.

When questioned whether they would join the Government the duo did not give a definite answer but said that a final decision would be arrived at after September 8.

Earl Gunasekera MP said that he, Lakshman Seneviratne MP and former MP Vajira Abeywardena had suggested to the party at the recent working committee that the UNP should support the amendments. Later UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunatilake MP said that the party would oppose the move.

He said that the proposed changes to the 17th Amendment was a progressive move as they were intended at removing certain obstacles which are in the way of accelerated development.

The MPs pointed out that when the UNP was in power the then Government had faced many snags in running the state administration due to powers vested with the CC.

As an example he pointed at the UNPs inability to re-enlist 19 policemen who were interdicted by the previous regime for giving evidence in the Batalanda incident.

While launching a scathing attack on the UNP leadership Gunasekera charged that the UNP had taken many wrong turns in the course of its recent history.

As examples he pointed out the UNPs opposition to abolish the Executive Presidency when former President Chandrika Kumaratunge sought their support during her tenure. He noted that the UNPs inability to side with the Government during the humanitarian operation too was a grave mistake which cannot be rectified.

He said that the UNP could benefit by the 18th Amendment as according to political science the tendency was for the decline in popularity of the ruling party over a period of time. He added that the UNP had nothing to worry over the matter as the ultimate decision in this regard invested with the public.

He noted that the UNP should not resort to say No for the sake of opposing but should take decisions with the greater good of the country in mind.

He added that the party should not follow the JVP. Lakshman Seneviratne said that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had no moral right to object to the proposed amendments as he had no proper stance in the matter and added that his contradictory method in this regard was embedded in the history for everybody to see.

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