Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday claimed the Government’s inability to recognise economic and social priorities and address them early was one of the key reasons that had led to the current political turbulence.
“The Government does not recognise what needs to be done first. They do not understand what the priority is for the public and this has caused the current situation,” SLPP Chairman Prof. G. L Peiris told reporters during a press conference at SLPP headquarters in Battaramulla.
He charged that the Government was attempting to enact a new Constitution to divert public attention from the current difficult economic situation in the country and to keep pledges made to the international community prior to the 2015 election.
Prof. Peiris alleged Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan and the Tamil National Alliance by extension were pressuring the Government to enact a new Constitution, which the public had not asked for.
“If any government expects to enact a new constitution, that government has to win the trust of the public. A new constitution is not just a document. It is the legal basis that an entire country functions on and is created to last for many decades. Such an effort needs the trust and confidence of the public. But this Government does not have such a strong relationship with the people. This is also why they are constantly delaying elections,” he said.
He pointed out if the Government wanted to enact a new Constitution for the benefit of the country they should have done so at the beginning of their term to give more time for public and other stakeholders to discuss its formulation in greater detail. Prof. G.L. Peiris then went on to point out that the report of the Delimitation Committee for the Provincial Council elections should be handed over within two months. However, since the committee was appointed in August and not in April as was initially targeted, the Committee is already in contravention of the Provincial Council Election (Amendment) Act No.17 of 2017 to present the report within the stipulated timeframe.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya appointed the expert committee to revise the report by the Delimitation Committee for the provincial council electorates after it was defeated in Parliament on 24 August.
“The Speaker himself violated the Act by appointing the committee after four months. The Speaker nominated the committee in August even though it was supposed to be nominated in April. Despite the four-month delay, the Speaker has agreed to delay the report by two months, which is clearly a violation of the act,” he added.
He also said that the Government was looking for ways to delay the election under any circumstances, adding that the Election Commission needed to ensure voter rights and hold elections on time.