TNA reiterates federal power sharing
Power sharing must be done in a federal structure, consistent with the aspirations of the Tamil people expressed at every election since 1956, said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) of the Parliamentary Opposition.
Issuing a press release to clarify their position with regard to the political solution for the Tamil national ethnic question, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the conduct of the long-delayed Provincial Councils (PCs) Elections and the all-party conferences convened by the President and Minister of National Policies Ranil Wickremesinghe, TNA Parliamentarian President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran urged President Wickremesinghe to hold the PCs Elections which have been postponed for more than two years in order to make the effort to devolve power more meaningfully.
“The TNA unequivocally conveyed to the President at the very first all-party conference on 10 December 2022, that the PCs Elections must be held without further delay. We also discussed measures necessary to make devolution meaningful. Several discussions were held with the President and at the second all-party conference on 26 January 2023, we again reiterated our position. It was the same position that was conveyed at the last all-party conference that was held on 26 July 2023. There was absolutely no change of the positions by the TNA; nor is there any contradiction between calling for immediate PCs Elections and enhanced and meaningful devolution. In fact, one without the other is meaningless,” he mentioned.
MP Sumanthiran also noted that nine PCs that were functioning, albeit with deficiencies, have ceased to be due to a legal snag in the process of changing the electoral system, adding that the Select Committee on electoral reform under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in its report submitted to this Parliament last year (2022) had stated that the PCs Elections which had been stalled for more than three years, negates the democratic right of the people, and has recommended to hold the Elections under the proportional representation system that existed previously.
He also emphasised that power sharing must be done in a federal system and that if someone opposes the implementation of the 13th Amendment, he/she would violate the Constitution. “Our position is that power sharing must be in a federal structure, consistent with the aspirations of the Tamil people expressed at every election since 1956. The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution, and not a separate appendage. The President and all of us have taken an oath to uphold and defend it. Thus, the non-implementation of any part of the Constitution is a violation of the whole,” he highlighted.