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Sri Lanka reconciliation, economy priorities of govt: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s socio economic progress and reconciliation among all communities will be key planks of a new administration and the parliament can also choose to change the constitution, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

A unity administration involving the main two parties of the country can solve problems that had kept Sri Lanka behind other countries in Asia, he said delivering a policy speech at the inauguration of a new parliament on September 01.

With the end of a 30-year war, reconciliation has to be given priority but the main two parties were unable to shed aside differences in the post-war period, he said.

The parliament has the responsibility to take decision that will institute reconciliation, economic progress allowing all people of the country to live together in peace and contentment he said.

Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution involving an executive presidency, and a proportional representative system with preferential votes had earned a criticism from many quarters.

"Whether the executive presidency should continue, or what form it should take is the responsibility of the members who are now sitting here," he said.

He had himself promised to change the electoral system in his Presidential manifesto, he said.

Freedom advocates say the 1978 constitution failed in the two basic functions intended from a constitution; that of restraining the state and rulers and that of giving absolute guarantees of equality to people.

Robbing of economic freedoms of the people especially through state intervention by a supposedly all-knowing state and bureaucrats, currency depreciation and inflation, coercive state monopolies and expropriation which reversed property rights had kept Sri Lanka back analysts say.

Eastern European-style post-feudal nationalist hate had also taken root in the island, leading to war freedom advocates say.

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The policy of the new administration will be based on the five point manifesto of the United National Party and also parallel policies of the United People’s Freedom Alliance, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the Tamil National Alliance manifestos, President Sirisena said.

The new administration will follow seek to be open and friendly with all nations and follow and Asia centric foreign policy, he said.

Already the international community was supporting the country, he said.

 

(Colombo/Sept01/2015)

 

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