Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the final decision on the proposed new Constitution will not be taken without consulting religious leaders.
The PM gave the assurance at the launch of presidential service at Saiva Prakash Balika Vidyalaya in Vavuniya on Saturday, with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Having explained the ongoing parliamentary process in place to reach a consensus on the new Constitution, Wickremesinghe expressed confidence that consensus could be secured on most issues through consultations with religious leaders.
The UNP leader said a three-day debate on constitutional proposals that had been submitted to Parliament would help them identify those issues where there was consensus as well as disagreement. Once they had identified contentious issues they could be taken up with the Mahanayakes, the Cardinal, Bishops and others. The debate is scheduled to begin on Oct 30.
The PM reiterated that a draft Constitution hadn’t been submitted to Parliament so far and such a document would be prepared following consultations with all stakeholders. He assured that the new Constitution wouldn’t cause the division of the country.
Alleging that all religions had extremist elements, Wickremesinghe strongly criticized the print media accusing them of purposely undermining the Constitution making process. He questioned whether the responsibility of the print media was to support a negotiated settlement or strengthen extremists.
The PM strongly advised the Sinhala media not to subvert the constitution making process by propagating lies. The UNP leader alleged that an influential section of the media was working overtime to sabotage the process.
Referring to recent controversy over Malwatte Mahanayake Thera’s opposition to a new Constitution, the PM blamed a section of the media for propagating lies with ulterior motives.