Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe yesterday presented to Parliament The Resolution for the appointment of the Constitutional Assembly. The Resolution , proposes establishing a Committee of Parliament referred to as the ‘Constitutional Assembly’ which shall consist of all Members of Parliament, for the purpose of deliberating, and seeking the views and advice of the People, on a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.
The Speaker of Parliament will be the Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly and there will be seven Deputy Chairmen of the Constitutional Assembly, who shall be elected by the Constitutional Assembly.
In the absence of the Speaker, the Constitutional Assembly shall elect one of the Deputy Chairmen to chair the sittings of the Assembly. There will be clerks to the Constitutional Assembly for the purpose of recording the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly and the Committees, Constitutional Advisors, a Legal Secretary and assistants to Legal Secretary and media staff including social media.
The Constitutional Assembly will appoint a Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, and not more than eleven other Members of the Constitutional Assembly.
The Steering Committee will be responsible for the business of the Constitutional Assembly and for preparing a Draft of a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. At its first sitting the Constitutional Assembly will determine the Sub-Committees and elect members to those Sub-Committees.
At the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly the Prime Minister will present a Resolution for adoption by the Constitutional Assembly, calling upon the Steering Committee to present a Resolution proposing a Draft Constitution Bill for the consideration of the Constitutional Assembly.
It is said in the Order Paper for today that there is a broad agreement among the People of Sri Lanka that it is necessary to enact a new Constitution for Sri Lanka and the people have at the Presidential Election held on 08th January, 2015 given a clear mandate for establishing a political culture that respects the rule of law and strengthens democracy.
Furthermore, the President Maithripala Sirisena has clearly expressed his desire to give effect to the will of the People expressed at the Presidential Election by enacting a new Constitution that, inter alia, abolishing the Executive Presidency.
The government said that it has become necessary to enact a new Constitution that, inter alia, abolishes the Executive Presidency, ensures a fair and representative Electoral System which eliminates preferential voting, strengthens the democratic rights of all citizens, provides a Constitutional Resolution of the national issue, promotes national reconciliation, establishes a political culture that respects the rule of law, guarantees to the People’s fundamental rights and freedom that assure human dignity and promotes responsible and accountable government.