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Constitutional expert urges public to reject proposed Federal Constitution

Constitutional expert and eminent lawyer Manohara de Silva on Monday urged the public to reject the proposed constitution as it would turn the country into a federal state.

De Silva, addressing the media at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC), said people had not asked for a new Constitution but the well-funded Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) were behind it as they wanted the country divided gradually.

The constitutional expert asked why the term unitary state had been removed in the Tamil version of the draft. He added that those behind the move were hell bent on removing the constitutional provision granting Buddhism the foremost place.

He said President Maithripala Sirisena was claiming that the amendments to the constitution would not harm the unitary status of the country and the foremost place given to Buddhism in the constitution would be retained, but there were doubts whether he had read the draft carefully.

He said in the event of the new constitution being placed before the people at a referendum all extremist groups including separatists backed by the international community would join forces to have it approved.

The proposed constitutional amendments would also dilute the powers of the northern governor and he or she would be under the control of the Chief Minister, De Silva pointed out.

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