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Ranil denies federal solution and pledges to uphold Buddhism in new constitution

Sri Lanka’s prime minister has vowed to ensure that Buddhism will continue to hold “foremost” place in the island’s constitution and denied that there had been any federal proposals for power sharing to Tamil provinces, as he presented an experts’ report on the proposals to draft a new constitution.

Presenting the report Ranil Wickremesinghe declared:

"There is no federal proposal in this. All have accepted the unitary character, although they may have different views on its terminology”.

"There were no plans to divide the country," he added.  "This report consists of proposals made by all parties including the chief ministers of provinces." 

The report contains several comments from various political parties and other government-invited experts on the current constitution and proposals for amendments.

For instance, whilst the SLFP, JHU and Joint Opposition all called for the article giving Buddhism “the foremost place” to remain unchanged, the TNA called for the article to state “Sri Lanka shall be a secular state”.

However it added, 

(If the majority consensus is in favour of Buddhism being given the foremost place, the terms and conditions relating thereto should be specified). 

(In the interests of reaching an acceptable consensus, the TNA will be willing to consider agreement with the main principles articulated in the interim report if the same are acceptable to the two parties). 

See the more comments and the full text of the report here.