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NPP taking the struggle against the 20th Amendment to the people – Dr Amarasuriya

ECONOMYNEXT – The National People’s Power believes resistance to the proposed 20th Amendment cannot be limited to a court challenge.

NPP Member of Parliament Dr Harini Amarasuriya, told EconomyNext that the 1978 Constitution is “exploitative and anti-democratic in its very intent. We believe we have come to the very end of what can be done to improve this constitution through amendments. We need a new constitution and our struggle is for a new constitution that ensures social justice and democracy for all, equally.”

The Supreme Court is examining 39 Fundamental Rights applications challenging the 20th Amendment.

Historically the lead party in the alliance, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), has taken part in the changes done through the 17th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution.

“They were meant to be attempts to push for more democratic space, but we did not get what we wanted,” the academic and political activist told EN today September 29.

She said the mainstream parties, currently the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) “in the end are fundamentally in agreement with the concept,” of the 1978 Constitution.

She said that her party does not see any space to work within this Constitution, “there is nothing we can realistically achieve as ours is a long-term struggle.”

Amarasuriya also challenged the government on its interpretation of the huge mandate given by the people is to draft a Constitution that would strengthen the Executive.

“The people voted against the failures of the Yahapalana government, not for a monarchy,” she said. “To say that the people voted for a king is a malicious distortion of the intent of the people.”

Amarasuriya says the “consequence of this very change will be that the government will get the power to freely exploit the resources that belong to the very people who voted for them and to crush all dissent against these moves”

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She said that the alliance believes the country needs a brand new discussion on democracy and social justice. To do that they are holding meetings in the major cities and delivering their message, she said. “We are also holding pocket meetings,” she said.

She also said that the party “will resist the implementation of this agenda at every turn,” and agreed that this could invite repression. “That is a given,” she said. (Colombo, September 29, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana