New Constitution draft and electoral reforms by end January 

BY Pamodi Waravita

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday (22) that the draft of the new Constitution will be presented to Parliament by the end of January, alongside the recommendations on the electoral system, which are to be made by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws, headed by Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. 

“We hope that by the second week of January, the draft of the new Constitution will be ready, which is now being worked on by an expert committee chaired by President’s Counsel (PC) Romesh De Silva. In about three weeks, the committee will prepare the new Constitution – not proposals, not recommendations, but the complete draft. The country is also very focused on changing the electoral system as both political parties and the public are of the opinion that it is unsuitable. The Select Committee led by Gunawardena is looking into it already, meeting about twice a week, in discussions spanning more than two hours. Those recommendations will also be given to the Parliament at the end of January or at the beginning of February, and they will also be very helpful,” said Prof. Peiris whilst addressing the media yesterday. 

He added that once the draft of the new Constitution is ready, it will be sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department, prior to it being presented to Parliament. A bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee, representing members of all political parties, will analyse the said draft before Parliament debates it, he explained.

The expert committee was appointed in September of last year. In addition to De Silva PC, its other members include Gamini Marapana PC, Manohara De Silva PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, and Samantha Ratwatte PC; Dr. A. Sarveswaran; Prof. Wasantha Seneviratne; and Prof. G.L. Peiris.