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Spokesman for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), MP President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran says our party will hold discussions with the Mahanayakes to stress the importance of a Constitutional reform in order to solve major issues in the country.

He made this comment to the Nation following the decision by the Mahanayake Theras of three Nikayas that there was no need of a new Constitution.

Q : What is the TNA’s position on the Mahanayakes’ decision with regard to constitutional reforms?

The promise made of bringing a New Constitution is at least one and a half years old as the resolution in this regard was passed on January 9 of last year. Even before, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted there was a promise that this was merely an interim solution and that a New Constitution would be brought. There have been discussions in this regard and several steps such as the setting up of the Constitutional Assembly were taken in relation to the matter. A lot of work has gone into it.

We are surprised that the Mahanayakes have suddenly come up with this view. They knew all along about the aforementioned process regarding the New Constitution. It is baffling as to why they have suddenly taken up this position.

Q : How will this impact reconciliation efforts?  

Nevertheless, our view is that for the first time there is an opportunity presented to enact a Constitution with the consent of different parties. In 1947, although we made representations, it was the British Parliament that enacted it. In 1972, it was the Party in power that enacted it and the Opposition and other communities opposed it and did not unite with it, a fact which has since been paid for dearly because the matter remained and remains unresolved. Thus, at present we have for the first time an opportunity where we can draft a Constitution regarding which everybody is on broad agreement with, has participated in (including us) and have achieved a consensus on the crucial issues. This step to abandon such at this stage is a serious blow to the reconciliation efforts. We urge the Mahanayakes to reconsider and are willing to meet and explain. A new Constitution, a new social contract to unite the people, is absolutely necessary.

Q : Moving forward, what will the TNA do in this regard?

We will discuss and reach a decision soon.