New Constitution and some confusions

Almost all politicians are more or less focused on the Constitutional reforms, with the focus slowly shifting towards the upcoming budget proposals that are to be presented to Parliament next month.

The Constitutional reforms form a key step in Sri Lankan politics and have the potential to solve the longstanding ethnic problem which had plagued the country for over 30 years. Even the process is underway and the Steering Committee had released its interim report, there are voices that oppose this move.

Nevertheless, the Tamil political leaders, at least most of them, are optimistic that the concerns of the Tamils will be addressed through the new Constitution. However, it seems that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is yet to solve its internal crisis. While, Opposition Leader, and Parliamentary Group Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan had been silent on the content of the interim report, the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V Wigneswaran had issued a statement rejecting the reports.

On one hand, Sampanthan has been campaigning for the new Constitution, where he had even hinted that this was the last chance for the entire country to find a durable solution to the ethnic question. Sampanthan had also clarified that the new Constitution would not lead to a separate State.

Wigneswaran alleged that the report did not recognize the rights of the Tamils. He had also stated that the new Constitution should look at Tamils as a separate unit. He had reportedly stated that finding a solution only through the sovereignty of the Tamils would bring peace. It should be noted that Wigneswaran had not expressed his opposition to a new Constitution. He had only rejected the contents of the interim report.

However, these statements would definitely send mixed signals to the outside world. Such statements would also confuse the Tamil people, both within, and outside the country. The new Constitution is a make or break situation especially for the minorities, especially Tamils and Muslims, and therefore, the political leaders representing these communities should make statements keeping the welfare of the people in mind.

It is also important for Sampanthan and Wigneswaran to enlighten the people on the actual stance of the TNA in order to ensure that they are on the same page on the issue.

Published in the Nation on October 7, 2017


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