New draft Constitution could be presented in parliament by November

Minister Mangala Samaraweera

Sri Lanka’s new draft Constitution could be presented in Parliament before the next budget which would be announced by mid-November this year, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said while hoping that it will celebrate the country’s diversity.

“We hope to be able to present that (Constitution) in parliament before the next budget,” Samaraweera said while addressing a gathering in Point Pedro in the northern province.

The 2017 government budget is expected to be presented in Parliament mid-November. It was important to recognise the religious diversity in Sri Lanka in formulating the new Constitution, Samaraweera said.

“We have been busy creating or placing a foundation for a new Sri Lanka. Based on the three pillars of democratisation, reconciliation and development,” the minister said.

The process of finalising the new Constitution is underway and it will hopefully celebrate the diversity of the country, he said. Samaraweera said, it is time to come to terms with the fact that Sri Lanka is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual country.

The Maithripala Sirisena government has set in the process of making a new Constitution since January this year. A 21-member steering committee consisting of parliamentarians from across all political parties has been set up.

The aim is to replace the existing 1978 constitution. In the new Constitution, the Prime Minister will hold the supreme executive power.