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Gotabaya refuses to agree to full implementation of 13-A

Gotabaya(Courtesy of Colombo Gazette)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has refused to agree to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Friday said that he was confident the Sri Lankan Government will pursue the process of reconciliation to fulfil the aspirations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace, and respect.

More importantly, he said the process should also include the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

However, Rajapaksa told The Hindu newspaper that he intends to focus on development of the Northern region and not political issues.

“Look, the 13th amendment is part of the constitution and is functional, except for some areas like control of police powers, which we can’t implement. I am willing to discuss alternatives to that,” he said.

He says the previous push for “devolution, devolution, devolution” has not changed the situation in the North.

Full devolution of powers as promised by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1987 could not be implemented “against the wishes and feeling of the majority [Sinhala] community.” He added: “No Sinhala will say, don’t develop the area, or don’t give jobs, but political issues are different.”

The President also said that the 19th Amendment (passed in 2015) is a failure and if the new Government gets 2/3rds majority in Parliament they will look to drop it from the Constitution.

“The only way you can even make the 19th amendment work is with two brothers (laughs) [at the top]. For a country to be governed successfully, you need stability. This was not the case during the Sirisena-Wickremsinghe government, where they were fighting all the time and there was no development. Without stability, investors won’t come,” he said.

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