Priority for new Constitution

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Removing the 19th Amendment and evolving a new Constitution will be the first priority of the Government as it embarks on the next five years of governance, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared yesterday.

Delivering the Government’s Policy Statement at the Inaugural Session of the Ninth Parliament, President Rajapaksa said the people had given the Government a resounding mandate for making Constitutional changes that will aid the country’s forward march.

“The basis of the success of a democratic state is its Constitution. Our Constitution, which has been amended 19 times, from its inception in 1978, has many ambiguities and uncertainties, presently resulting in confusion. As the people have given us the mandate we wanted for a Constitutional amendment, our first task will be to remove the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

After that, all of us will get together to formulate a new Constitution suitable for the country. In this, the priority will be given to the concept of one country, one law for all the people,” the President said.

He also added that while introducing a new Constitution, it is also required to make changes to the existing electoral system. “An unstable Parliament that cannot take firm decisions and succumbs to extremist influences very often is not suitable for a country.

While introducing a new Constitution, it is essential to make changes to the current electoral system. While retaining the salutary aspects of the proportional representation system, these changes will be made to ensure stability of the Parliament and people’s direct representation.”

The government had also made a promise to the people to eradicate waste and corruption.

“I will not hesitate to enforce the law against those who are involved in fraud and corrupt actions, irrespective of the status of any such perpetrators,” the President asserted.

“I will review the progress of the achievement of the goals of the Government that are implemented through Ministries and the public sector. If I find any Ministry failing to achieve its set targets, I will not hesitate to effect necessary changes to implement policies of the Government,” the President warned.

He said that he had observed that some institutional procedures of those institutions do not add any value to the government or to the public but only waste the time of the public. “You should identify new methods to provide efficient, speedy and convenient service to the public instead of continuing with prevailing traditional methods. You need to re-engineer the processes for greater productivity and customer satisfaction. We should find new technological solutions in this regard.”

The President said that he loves his country and proud of his country. “I have a vision for my country. Our ardent desire is to build a prosperous nation with a productive citizen, contented family and a righteous society. What we have done so far as well as the plans we propose to implement in future will be aimed to achieve this objective,” he added.

He noted that the government has commenced a programme to provide employment for 100,000 persons representing the most underprivileged families in the country. “Simultaneously, we have set plans in motion to provide job opportunities to 60,000 graduates and train them to render their services efficiently. When offering government job opportunities, we will accord priority to poorest of the households. Further, we will have to ensure equal distribution of job opportunities for every province.

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