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Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

A National Government will unify country (Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka))

by September 9, 2015 Government & Politics

The new government that takes office this week would indeed be refreshingly different from all those gone before.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe apparently intends to write a new page in the history of our country; he has very wisely taken a page out of the Donoughmore Report and the concept of shared power, from it.

After sixty seven years of independence and three Constitutions and nineteen Amendments of the last 1978 Constitution, and from the experience gained from it, it is now generally accepted that we should now give ourselves yet another new Constitution because of the changes that have occurred in our country, as we are a new country now after the war was over.

“There may be differences regarding the extent of devolution, but they have both accepted that devolution should be the answer to our problem in the North by empowering the people in the north and east, giving them back their dignity, in a United Sri Lanka but not in a Federal Sri Lanka.”

We do need to transform our next Parliament into active Parliament and have real participatory government.

The PM has decided to establish ‘Oversight Committees’ perhaps until such time as we give ourselves a new Constitution, which transfers executive power back to Parliament and re-establishes a modified Westminster model, including the Executive Committee system we had under the Donoughmore Constitution, to establish a real national unity government.

The post-independence political culture of this country has been built on adversarial, confrontational politics without regard to the national interest. There has also been an erosion of human values. Our politicians have missed the wood for the trees. This is the unfortunate tradition, which we seem to want to perpetuate. The cement that has held this form of confrontational politics together has been, the vulgar pursuit of political power, for with it goes the opportunity to mount the gravy train and get rich. Have we not become a morally degenerate society?

We need to usher in the age of cooperation and leave behind us the age of confrontation, which has done immeasurable harm to this country. Let us seek to build a caring and considerate humane society where values, principles, ethics and discipline form the foundation. Whilst other countries are galloping ahead we are moving backwards. The disease of confrontation has spread to all levels of our society including the family. The politician is at the bottom of this-we must pull back from the abyss. Our political parties must learn to co-exist and make political cooperation an art form.

We must now form a National Unity Government comprising of all the main political parties, to establish a truly democratic system to ensure good governance and the supremacy of the Rule of Law, to ensure justice for all.

We could then reintroduce Cabinet government with a separation of powers and with the Constitutional Council also have the 17th Amendment back, ensuring Independent Commissions such as the Elections Commission, the Judicial Services Commission, the Anti Bribery and Corruption Commission or the Police Commission. Under a revised system all Members of Parliament irrespective of their political parties should be members of Oversight Committees of Parliament.

We should also reintroduce Article 29 from the Soulbury Constitution to safeguard the minorities of our country for they are also our people and they must be involved in the decision making process at the centre.

We must also reform the electoral system, which is a caricature of what it should be.

We should also give thought to the possibility of doing away with the political party system, which came to us from Britain and was a copy of the British Parliamentary System, which they bequeathed to us.

It may have its advantages but let us reflect on a situation where we had no political parties but elected individuals to our legislature in their personal capacities.

A former Government official, and later a Member of Parliament, U.B. Wijekoon, wrote a book titled The Curse of Party Politics, it would be most useful to take account of what he had to say. Yes, let us seek to end confrontational politics in our country. We must in the first instance ban all communal parties as they do in Singapore and Malaysia.

The two main political parties and also the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have pledged to further a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, democratic political system.

The UNP and the SLFP profess to pursue a Social Market Economy as in China. The foreign policies of the two main parties are identical; we are for a Multi-polar world.

The social policies of the two parties are the same. The approach to the national problem is also identical- devolution of power in a united country. There may be differences regarding the extent of devolution, but they have both accepted that devolution should be the answer to our problem in the North by empowering the people in the north and east, giving them back their dignity, in a United Sri Lanka but not in a Federal Sri Lanka.

This government has adopted as its creed Good Governance, let us see it become a reality. Let us see our politicians enthrone dialogue, persuasion (diplomacy), consultation and consensus building as the fundamental tenet or doctrine of the good governance.

Don’t postpone what needs to be done now, do it now or Appamado Amatha padam as the Buddha himself stated.