By Saman Indrajith
President Ranil Wickremesinghe must first hold provincial council elections before discussing the full implementation of the 13th amendment to the constitution, opposition parties have said, commenting on the All-Party Conference (APC) on reconciliation, convened by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday.
The SJB has said: “The President must show his sincerity first. The northern issue is nothing new. He is notorious for setting up meetings like this to confuse everyone. If he really wants to solve the issues facing Northerners, he must hold provincial council elections first. The Provincial Councils have been defunct for over 4.5 years, and they are under the Governors.
This is inimical to democracy.”
MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana has said that SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam told the APC that there was no consensus about the 13th Amendment in his party.
“Before talking about enhancing the powers of the provincial councils, the President should hold provincial council elections. He is trying to fool the Tamil people and secure their votes in the coming presidential election. He is thinking of himself,” the MP said. Kariyawasam said that there was a divergence of opinion between the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and C.V. Wigneswaran at the APC.
“The TNA wants elections to be held first while Wigneswaran thinks more devolution should come first and elections can wait,” he said.
SLPP dissident MP Gevindu Cumaratunga said that there was an understanding between Tamil parties and President Wickremesinghe. The APC had been convened to get the approval of other parties for these agreements, he said.
“What we saw is that the Tamil parties can never be satisfied,” he said.