The Sunday Leader

13th Amendment Is It A Political Solution?

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) together with India has been pushing the Sri Lankan government to find a political solution to national issues in the country through the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged in bilateral discussions with India and under several other occasions that the Sri Lankan government would be committed to fully implementing and enhancing the 13th Amendment. However, many political parties are skeptical of the government’s true intention to keep its promise.
While some believed that the 13th Amendment was forced into the Sri Lankan Constitution by India and was passed in the parliament without a public referendum, others firmly believe that the implementation of the 13th Amendment would be a key political solution to national issues.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, several political parties expressed their opinion pro and against the implementation of the 13th Amendment as a political solution to the existing issues of the country.

Jayantha Ketagoda Democratic National Alliance MP

The government has officially made promises to implement the 13th Amendment under many circumstances and now they have to face the consequences.

The 13th Amendment was introduced as a political solution to the ethnic conflict in the country.

However, there is no use of introducing new constitutions or amendments to the constitution as long as disparities and disagreements exist among ethnic and religious groups.

The solutions should be provided to the core of the problem.

The country lacks democracy.

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Ravi Karunanayake United National Party MP

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was passed during a UNP government.

Full powers according to the amendment were granted to the provincial councils under the UNP government.

However, land powers and police powers need to be relooked at.

There has to be an independent National Police Commission. However, the present government has been unable to implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution.

Sometimes back, the government promised Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Sri Lankan government would take necessary measures to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution.

Now the Sri Lankan government has suddenly changed their decision.

Implementing the 13th Amendment may not be a solution to all the issues of Sri Lanka but it will be a good confidence building exercise.

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Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe Jathika Hela Urumaya, Media Spokesperson

As a political party, we believe that the 13th Amendment should be completely abolished.

Sri Lankan public never asked for a 13th Amendment.

It was passed in the parliament in 1987due to high pressure exerted by the Indian government.

It was clearly an amendment to the constitution done by force.

They did not seek a mandate from the people (referendum) to pass the amendment, which should have been the right procedure.

If the government cannot completely abolish the 13th Amendment, they should at least take police powers and land powers under the Central government.

Two provinces should not be adjoined to form one administrative unit and there is also no need of the majority of the provincial councils to make decisions in the parliament.

India has been playing with Sri Lankan politics to favour Tamil Nadu. India or any other country does not have the right to give political solutions to our country.

We have our own parliament and we should be able to give solutions to our problems.
Evidently, the 13th Amendment is not a solution to national issues in the country.
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Mano Ganeshan Democratic People’s Front, Leader

Many agreements have been signed between Tamil political leaders and governments that had come into power to address national issues of the country.

However, many agreements came to an end without any effect. The Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact that was signed between S W R D Bandaranaike and S J V Chelvanayakam was later abandoned by the government, which led to further issues.

The 13th Amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka is the only piece of agreement that was passed in parliament and came into existence as a law in the country.

India played a significant role in pushing the Sri Lankan government to bring the 13th Amendment and therefore has the right to insist upon its implementation. In the joint statement by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after his visit to Sri Lanka on May 23, 2009, the government agreed to implement the 13th Amendment and to enhance the 13th Amendment.

Thus, the government has pledged to proceed with the implementation of the 13 plus to address the national issues. Due to the CHOGM pressures, the government conducted the Provincial Council Election in the North and East. However, it is not allowing the elected body to function and perform its duties.

They have also played tricks, which have now led to a conflict between the Governor and the Chief Minister. The 13th Amendment is not the medicine for all the problems in the country but it will address a substantial part of the issue.

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Vijitha Herath Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna MP

For over 27 years, it is proven that the 13th Amendment is not the solution to the national issues of Sri Lanka. It is just a white elephant, which has no worth or relevance.

We are a small country that cannot afford to be divided into two.

The 13th Amendment has elements that encourage separatism.

We are a sovereign country and we should not act according India’s agenda. We should find solutions to our problems.

The solutions should be sustainable political solutions but the 13th Amendment is clearly not one of them.

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Suresh Premachandran Tamil National Alliance MP

In order to find a political settlement to the existing problems in Sri Lanka, the 13th Amendment has to be fully implemented and enhanced as promised by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Even though the president has categorically pledged to the Indian Prime Minister to implement and improve the 13th Amendment, the Sri Lankan government has been unable to do so.

According to the 13th Amendment, North and East have to be merged as one political unit, which is now being demerged. Land powers and police powers need to be enhanced as promised by the president to the Indian Prime Minister.

However, some powers of the original 13th Amendment have been withdrawn under other amendments to the constitution. For example, the implementation of the 18th Amendment to the constitution has invalidated some elements of the 13th Amendment.

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Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Bodu Bala Sena, General Secretary

India cannot suggest political solutions to national issues of our country.

Indian government tries to poke its finger into every matter in Sri Lanka for their own political gains.

They act in favour of Tamil Nadu who have various other interests that will only please the Tamil population in their country.

We do not have to act according to their propaganda. We are not a colony of India.

 

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D E W Gunasekara Minister of Human Resources

When the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was brought into parliament in 1987, I was one of the few to vote in favour of the amendment even though I was in the opposition at the time.

I still stand by my decision. The 13th Amendment is the political solution agreed by all the Tamil political leaders to address the national issues in the country except LTTE.

LTTE did not agree upon the political solution brought forth through the 13th Amendment and took arms against the Sri Lankan government.

I still believe that the 13th Amendment should be fully implemented to provide a political solution to national issues.

 

1 Comment for “13th Amendment Is It A Political Solution?”

  1. Amarakoon

    By all cost 13 Amendment should not be implemented! We have to stop blaming India, it was our political leaders who agreed to it (UNP been the main culprit). Best thing is ask the citizens of Sri Lanka for this infamous 13 Amendment through a referendum!

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