Provincial councils to be scraped?

The National Joint Committee (NJC) has urged the Government to scrap the provincial council system and do away with the existing proportional representation system of elections.

The NJC, while expressing confidence that the Government would fulfil its pledge to remove numerous provisions introduced to the Constitution through many amendments, expressed concern about a reported statement made by Justice Minister Ali Sabry that the ‘provincial councils would not be abolished’.

“We have now existed without these provincial councils for almost three years. The provincial councils are white elephants which this country cannot afford. The 13th Amendment provides for the creation of ethnic enclaves by amalgamation of provinces …,” the statement issued by NJC Co-Presidents Rtd. Lt Col. Anil Amarasekera and Retd. Senior DIG K. M. B. Kotakadeniya said.

The NJC said since Parliament is able to repeal its own laws with a simple majority it should also be able to repeal Provincial legislation too sans a two thirds majority.

“We also strongly urge the Government to do away with the existing proportional representation system of elections and revert to the first-past-the-post system as it existed prior to 1978,” the statement added.

“…we urge this Government to harness all its available resources to rearrange the constitutional structure of the state forthwith as a new constitutional arrangement is the wish of all the people that voted this Government to office,” the statement said.

The NJC said it had done a comprehensive study of the historical injustices caused by the aforementioned amendments and therefore it was in a position to assist the Government in the preparation of a new constitutional arrangement if an opportunity was given.

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